BC's Indigenous Public Post-Secondary Institute


The Nicola Valley Institute of Technology announced today the expansion of the Immediate Entry Bursary to include all eligible Indigenous grade 12 graduates across the Province of British Columbia. Standing before the BC Assembly of First Nations (BCAFN), Special Chiefs Assembly in Nanaimo BC, NVIT’s President and CEO, Ken Tourand stated, “In response to BC’s Bill 41 – 2019: Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and the education focused Direct Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) and Direct Articles of the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), NVIT invites eligible Indigenous Grade 12 graduates to join us this fall on either the Merritt or Burnaby campuses for an educational experience immersed in Indigenous ways of knowing and supported by a bursary equivalent to tuition for one year of full-time studies (30 credits)”.
Tourand cited accessibility and closing the Grade 12 immediate entry gap between non-Indigenous and Indigenous graduates as the impetus of the decision to expand. Indigenous grade 12 graduate immediate entry to a BC post-secondary Institute reached a peak of 40.9% in 2013/2014 and the following year dropped to a 5 yr low of 38.4%. In contrast to the 53.5% non-indigenous immediate entry grade 12 graduates, just under 40% of Indigenous Grade 12 graduates immediately transitioned to a BC post-secondary. It can take up to 10 years to close the gap – potentially delaying enhanced quality of life for Indigenous learners, families and communities. As BC’s Indigenous Public Post-Secondary Institute, closing the gap is a priority for NVIT.
Regional Chief Terry Teegee is elected to the BCAFN representing the 203 First Nations in British Columbia, and is part of the BC First Nations Leadership Council. He stated, “NVIT has the commitment and support of the BCAFN for its implementation of the provincial Immediate Entry Bursary. We applaud the consistent commitment and initiative of NVIT toward improving the quality of life for Indigenous people and communities”.
Chair of NVIT’s Board of Governors, Jamie Sterritt of the Gitksan Nation, believes the Institute’s mandate, since inception in 1983 and its public accreditation in 1995, provides the higher education response to the TRC, UNDRIP and now BC’s Bill 41. “Long before the National and International calls for parity from TRC and UNDRIP, NVIT’s efforts focused on keeping post-secondary education accessible, culturally safe and relevant for Indigenous peoples”. NVIT consistently maintains the lowest tuition in the province, responds to curriculum delivery requests by First Nation communities and agencies, and ensures a relevant learning experience immersed in Indigenous ways of being. Sterritt further stated, “the Immediate Entry Bursary is yet another example of NVIT’s commitment to close the soci-economic gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations”.
In 2018 NVIT focused on increasing the immediate entry of all Grade 12 graduates in its Merritt school district by launching an Immediate Entry Bursary for all immediate entry graduates of School District 58. Additional Immediate Entry Bursaries were offered for Indigenous Grade 12 graduates for Burnaby School District 41 at NVIT’s Burnaby campus. In 2019 the Institute expanded the Immediate Entry Bursary to include all First Nation School Association’s Grade 12 graduates across the Province.
In addition to announcing province-wide expansion, Tourand also announced that the commitment to a 3-year pilot for all graduates of SD58 is no longer a pilot and will continue indefinitely. Superintendent for SD58, Stephen McNiven, shared, “NVIT is SD58’s community college and we are committed to working with NVIT to transition graduates to post-secondary education. The partnership between NVIT and SD58 is founded on a mutual dedication to enhancing the social and economic environment for all residents within the School District 58 region.”
In response to Indian Control of Indian Education (1972), and under the guidance and leadership of Grand Chief Gordon Antoine, NVIT was constructed over thirty years ago with the intention of improving the quality of life for Aboriginal people of the Nicola
Valley. Today this, now, global vision is reinforced through the emerging landscape to Indigenize education through the adoption of the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), the United Nations Declaration of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP). NVIT responds to community needs throughout British Columbia and Canada by ensuring public post-secondary education remains accessible and relevant. In being committed to the NVIT vision, NVIT not only continues to support our communities and create Indigenous academic space, but also expands our Indigenous circle of belonging among those with whom we serve.


For Further Information:
Emma Matusiak
Communications Officer, NVIT