On Friday, Feb 18, Northlands College and Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) signed a memorandum of understanding to deliver an Indigenous Community-Based Master of Education Program (ICBMEP) in La Ronge, Saskatchewan.
The memorandum builds on more than a decade of program partnerships between the two educational institutions. Representatives from both partners said they are equally invested in increasing access to education in the northern populations of the province.
“We are proud of this partnership that will remove barriers to higher education for Métis people in the north,” GDI executive director Lisa Bird-Wilson said in a press release.
“GDI has played an important role in advancing teacher education in Saskatchewan since its inception in 1980. At the time, there were less than a dozen Indigenous teachers in the province. Now, more than 1,400 Indigenous educators have graduated from our SUNTEP programs and 94 from our Master’s degree programs,” Leonard Montgrand, Métis Nation—Saskatchewan Minister of Education and GDI Board Chair added.
The ICBME program is a ten-class course-based Master’s program with a focus on Indigenous education. IT’s designed to provide graduate education in an off-campus setting that helps link education theory to local education issues and practices.
GDI will utilize its Affiliation Agreement with the University of Regina to ensure all course offerings fulfill the necessary academic requirements and rigour.
Northlands College is both honoured and humbled to enter into this program partnership. Our history of collaboration with GDI has proven to be fruitful and beneficial for the people of northern Saskatchewan. We look forward to the outcomes of this Masters Program and to future partnerships with GDI,” Guy Penney, President & CEO of Northlands College said.
Advanced Education Minister Gene Makowsky touted the partnership as a way to allow Indigenous residents in northern Saskatchewan residents to receive a post-secondary education closer to home.
“Growing Indigenous participation in the labour market and our economy is a key component of Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan, and graduates of this program will have a positive impact on our children, our communities, and our province for generations to come,” he said.
The first cohort of the La Ronge ICBME program began in July 2020 with 24 graduate students. The first year of classes were delivered online since the program began during the pandemic.
In future years, the program will be delivered on-site at Northlands College. Delivery in La Ronge serves students from across the north in communities such as Black Lake, Meadow Lake, Cumberland House, Beauval, and Stanley mission.
Applications are now open for a second cohort that will begin the program in July 2022. More information on entrance requirements and how to apply can be found at www.gdins.org/programs.