The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) has received a $5-million gift from an anonymous donor to strengthen indigenous education research in Canada. The gift – the largest ever made to a Canadian faculty of education for such research – launches a five-year initiative to understand and advance the educational needs and aspirations of aboriginal peoples in Canada and around the world.
The donation also establishes a fellowship – to be held first by Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, the former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations in Canada. Chief Atleo will play a lead role in forging new partnerships among indigenous peoples in Canada, government agencies and others.
“The University of Toronto is already recognized as a world leader in indigenous education,” says U of T President Meric Gertler. “This gift affirms that stature and provides the support required to ensure that U of T continues to lead the way.”
The OISE Indigenous Education Initiative initially will include a focus on literacy and will pursue research in related areas such as indigenous languages and language revitalization.
“One of the great divisions between those who succeed and those who struggle relates to literacy and education. This is especially true with indigenous children,” says Kenn Richard, executive director, Native Child and Family Services Toronto. “I applaud this initiative as we need to know how to build a system where all succeed.”