Province and Scholarship Society Announce Aboriginal Teacher Education Award

Feb. 11, 2012 – A new bursary program will support Aboriginal students studying to become teachers and help them pursue careers as educators.

The Aboriginal Teacher Education Award Program, a $2 million fund, will support Aboriginal students enrolled in a teacher education program at a public post-secondary in British Columbia. Awards will be $5,000 annually for a maximum of four years.

The Aboriginal Teacher Education Award is in addition to the $10-million endowment fund established in 2007, as part of the Province’s strategy to improve access to post-secondary education for Aboriginal students.

The fund is administered by the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society, which works with The Victoria Foundation to provide scholarships and awards to students throughout the province and internationally. To date, the society has awarded more than $3.8 million from six programs – including $794,000 to 251 Aboriginal students in B.C.

Applications for the 2012 Aboriginal Teacher Education Awards will be accepted until April 10.


Minister of Advanced Education Naomi Yamamoto –
“We need more Aboriginal teachers. They serve as positive role models and can make a difference in an Aboriginal student’s success in K – 12, making it more likely that they will go on to post-secondary education and training.

The Aboriginal Teacher Education Award is another way B.C. is responding to the needs of Aboriginal students by providing better access to post-secondary education and training programs that can lead to jobs for B.C. communities.”

Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation Minister Mary Polak –
“Aboriginal people and communities are a vital part of B.C.’s economic future and our workforce. This fund will help to train the teachers who will inspire tomorrow’s Aboriginal students to excel, building stronger communities and creating new opportunities.”

Irving K. Barber British Columbia Scholarship Society chair Hugh Gordon –
“Our society is delighted to be able to expand the Aboriginal student award program to a group whose success and leadership will be an immediate and positive example for other Aboriginal students.

“It’s part of our commitment to ensuring access to education for deserving students from throughout the province.”

Quick Facts:

Aboriginal youth are the fastest-growing demographic in the province, making Aboriginal people the future of B.C.’s workforce.

Over 21,000 students a year who enrol in public post-secondary identify themselves as Aboriginal. That is a 17 per cent increase since 2007.

Learn more:

To find out more about the Aboriginal Teacher Award and other awards offered by the Irving K. Barber B.C. Scholarship Society, visit or call The Victoria Foundation at 250-381-5532.

Media contact:

Joanne Whittier
Communications Manager
Minister of Advanced Education
250 952-6400

Stephanie Slater
Director of Communications
Victoria Foundation
250 686-8477 (cell)

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