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Organization hopes to play part in improved Aboriginal education
Officials with an Edmonton-based organization were among those thrilled to hear the federal government has made Aboriginal education a priority.
The Aboriginal Achievement Centre for Excellence, which was launched this past year, is hoping the government’s announcement will provide the spark needed to give the company a significant boost.
AACE is a supplemental education company with an Aboriginal focus.
Andrew Buist, CEO of AACE, said his organization is hoping to improve the educational standards for First Nation, Métis and Inuit students across the country.
It’s no secret these groups have extraordinarily high dropout rates at schools throughout Canada.
“We’re of the mind that often some of the problems that exist are that the kids are not comfortable in that environment,” Buist said.
He believes that could change simply by introducing Aboriginal-focussed themes to the curriculums. The belief is students will be more interested in education if they are learning about their own history and culture.
AACE has programs for students from Kindergarten all the way through to Grade 12.
“We’re primarily looking at elementary and junior high school students,” Buist said.
AACE officials believe that students who are interested in their education at a relatively young age will continue to stay focussed on their schooling.
The AACE goal is to keep more students interested in school longer. This in turn will hopefully improve the graduation rates of Aboriginal students.
The spinoff effects from this can be rather substantial and have far-reaching benefits. With better and longer educations, Aboriginals can not only improve their own fortunes. But by having more and more individuals with extensive educations, this can also end up having positive effects for others in their communities.
Buist said his organization has already had dealings with officials from various urban and rural school boards in Alberta as well as First Nation school boards.
“We’re hoping to provide a solution,” he said of improving Aboriginal education across Canada.
AACE officials have some rather lofty goals. “We’re hoping in our first year that we can help up to 10,000 kids in Alberta.”
Buist added AACE is also hoping for a rather quick expansion across the country.
“We’re hoping to launch nationally in the next few months,” he said.
In order to do that, Buist’s organization is currently seeking various partners to assist with the delivery of its programs.
And he’s hoping with the assistance of some federal funding that various educational officials start approaching his group to lend a hand.
Buist also anticipates that several other organizations will likely be formed in the near future and that they too will be jumping into the business since the Canadian government plans to pump more money into Aboriginal education.
“We certainly anticipate this market becoming more robust in the near future,” he said. “With the work we’ve been doing we’re quite ahead of the game.”
Buist is hoping that AACE will become a leader in Aboriginal education needs.
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