A recently issued Office of the Auditor General of Canada report has found that cultural and language needs by many Yukon First Nations students are not being met in the territory.
A recently conducted report by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada highlights that the Yukon government needs to do more to meet the needs of many First Nation students in the territory.
The report, which partly studied whether the Yukon Department of Education's programs reflects Yukon First Nation needs, culture and languages, concluded that the department hadn't addressed factors already outlined in an earlier 2009 audit report investigating why high school completion rates for Yukon First Nation students were still lower in comparison to the rest of Yukon students.
Of the seven recommendation outlined in the report, Audit Principal Jo Ann Schwartz highlighted that monitoring service delivery in rural schools for students was one major protocol needing to be fixed by government.
"We found in spring of 2017 a higher percentage of rural than urban kindergarten students, particularly those from Yukon First Nations, that needed more support in two or more areas of early learning. We found that the department didn't regularly break down many of it's student outcomes indicators based on whether First Nations and non First Nations students were attending rural or urban schools. This prevented the department from knowing whether attending an urban or rural schools had an impact on student outcome"
The report notes Yukon First Nation students make up approximately 53% of Yukon's rural classrooms.
Audit Team Member Ruth Sullivan says First Nation language protocols also need to be more established in the department.
"There are certainly challenges with Yukon First Nation languages. At this point, what the department needs to do is to develop policies and guidelines around the scheduling and timetabling of languages. That's something that we found that they haven't done. That would be an important part in regards to what needs to be done to help revitalize those languages."
Schwartz says the production of the next report will be based on how swiftly the government follows the recommended protocols.
"We have made seven recommendations in very important areas. That includes student outcomes, inclusive education and the inclusion of First Nation language and culture education programs in the Yukon.... I think in the coming months the department will be watched to see how those recommendations are acted upon."
The performance audit took over 15 months to conduct, and focused on the learning issues facing student from kindergarten to grade 12.
Despite the setbacks, Minister of Education Pauline Frost said in a recent statement that her government remains committed to ensuring all student have the support they need as learners and that the Yukon government will work on achieving the audit's recommendations.