The Province is contributing upwards of $267,000 this year to support programs and activities to enhance aboriginal learners’ experiences at North Island College.
In a Friday announcement, NIC president Dr. Jan Lindsay said the money is “extremely important to the college,” which serves 35 First Nations in the region — among the largest served by any B.C. college.
The money allows NIC to place an aboriginal advisor on each of the four campuses, supports Elder in Residence programs in the Valley and Campbell River, and supports a field school for the nursing program in a remote location.
“I think all of these things are making a very significant difference in the degree to which we can serve that population,” Lindsay said.
Comox Valley MLA Don McRae — noting the importance of ensuring students are educated close to home — said the investment at NIC is modest.
“We always look to do more. I hope I can raise more dollars, not just for these kind of programs but for all programs to North Island College.”
McRae also noted “unbelievable” opportunities coming forward in the next eight or nine years for students, compared to the early-’90s when jobs were scarce.
Including NIC, 11 post-secondary institutions have received a total of $4.4 million this year to support Aboriginal Service Plans. The Elder In Residence program at the Comox Valley campus will receive a 50-per-cent increase ($42,958) while the same program at Campbell River will receive a 100-per-cent increase ($72,335).