The Ministry of Education is providing $65,000 dollars in funding to set up 15 teacher training seats at VIU Cowichan, with a focus on Indigenous culture.

Vancouver Island University’s Duncan campus was the site of the announcement and Education Minister Rob Fleming highlighted that over the generations, Indigenous culture has been largely lost and this program will start restoring the languages, cultures, and perspectives of Indigenous peoples.

Fleming said this new Indigenous teacher education curriculum will see teachers trained in BC communities and these professionals will be well-versed in tradition knowledge of various Indigenous groups throughout the province.

“To have them trained in local communities that have strong, established teacher education programs like Vancouver Island University, it’s great for the Duncan campus, it’s great for islanders,” said Fleming. “We know that this is one of the ways that we can continue to boost graduation rates and better performance in school, and making people feel more connected to their school.”

Fleming said the Indigenous element will be offered in the Bachelor of Education degree program.

“They’ll complete the last two years of the program working with some of the elders in the Cowichan Tribes and other communities,” said Fleming. “Learning how to animate the traditional ways of knowledge in things like science and math, and core social studies, learning some of the history that kids are required too now, under the curriculum.”

The Ministry is implementing the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which means K-12 students will learn Indigenous perspectives in all grades and subjects.

Fleming said initially, five universities throughout the province will offer the Indigenous curriculum.