The value of SUNTEP

A new report by a University of Saskatchewan professor states that an Aboriginal teaching program held through the College of Education provides immense benefit to the province.

The report by economics professor Eric Howe examines the social and economic benefit of the Saskatchewan Urban Native Teacher Education Program (SUNTEP), a partnership program between the U of S and the Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI).

SUNTEP: An Investment in Saskatchewan’s Prosperity, shows that education is a path out of poverty for Indigenous people. And, as the Indigenous population continues to grow rapidly, the path which avoids a future of poverty for Saskatchewan is, in two words, Indigenous education.

The report identifies the benefits of having Indigenous teachers in Saskatchewan schools. For example, Indigenous teachers present all students with a positive representation, which can be extremely valuable in a context where the media stories frequently involve the negative. 

Howe also examines the benefit to Saskatchewan if the province’s Indigenous residents had the same average level of educational attainment as that of their non-Indigenous counterparts. Computing the breakdown in the benefit by credential, the report shows that the largest payoff is for a university degree, such as SUNTEP. Howe notes that the payoff to Saskatchewan of just raising the number of terminal Indigenous high school diplomas to be the same proportion as for the non-Indigenous population is $21.9 billion. This alone is equal to more than a quarter of the highest value of provincial gross domestic product recorded in Saskatchewan’s history.

GDI was incorporated in 1980 to serve the educational and cultural needs of Saskatchewan’s Métis community. Through partnerships with various post-secondary institutions in Saskatchewan, it offers a variety of accredited educational, vocational and skills-training opportunities to the Métis across Saskatchewan. 

Read more at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

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