Students applaud Premiers' decision to focus on Aboriginal education

    OTTAWA, July 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Students across the country are applauding
the Council of the Federation's call for Prime Minister Harper to put words
into action for Aboriginal peoples across the country. Yesterday, Premier Jean
Charest spoke on behalf of Canada's provincial leaders and urged the federal
government to reintroduce elements of the Kelowna Accord, focusing
specifically on education and child poverty.
    "CASA is extremely encouraged by the Premiers' request," said Zach
Churchill, National Director for the Canadian Alliance of Student Associations
(CASA). "Students from Aboriginal communities are facing very serious and
unreasonable barriers to post-secondary education, and it is up to our
country's top leaders to invest in and support programs that break down these
    According to recent studies, 44 per cent of Aboriginal people aged
20 through 24 have not completed high-school, compared to 19 per cent of the
general population. Only 23 per cent of Aboriginal people aged 18 to
29 reported having completed their post-secondary education, compared to
43 per cent in the rest of Canada.
    By 2017, the Aboriginal population 20-29 years of age will have increased
over 40 per cent. In order to ensure that Aboriginal youth have access to
higher education, CASA is calling for the Federal Government to support
Aboriginal community initiatives designed to increase participation rates.
CASA is also urging the government to develop targeted financial aid and early
outreach programs for Aboriginal youth, and to eliminate the current 2 per
cent spending cap for the Post-secondary Student Support Program (PSSSP).
    "This government's lack of investment in Aboriginal youth is unfair and
unacceptable. It is time for the Federal Government to step up, work in
partnership with the provinces and Aboriginal communities, and truly empower
this land's first peoples. This is a cause that should unite us all,"
concluded Churchill.

    CASA is a not-for-profit national student organization, representing over
300,000 post-secondary students across Canada.

For further information:

For further information: or to arrange an interview: Jillian Flake,
Public Relations and Communications Officer, Canadian Alliance of Student
Associations, (613) 236-3457 ext. 224, (c) (613) 868-6605,

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Canadian Alliance of Student Associations

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