NORTH VANCOUVER – Education Minister Mike Bernier has said the Province is moving forward to address concerns raised by the auditor general of British Columbia and education partners about the disproportionately high number of Aboriginal students receiving Evergreen Certificates.
British Columbia schools will no longer be allowed to issue Evergreen Certificates to students unless they are classified as students with special needs and have an Individual Education Plan – ensuring the certificates are used only for their original purpose.
The change was made at the request of the First Nations Education Steering Committee, the British Columbia School Trustees Association and British Columbia Teachers’ Federation. Restricting the use of Evergreen Certificates was also a recommendation made by the auditor general of British Columbia in her report, An Audit of the Education of Aboriginal Students in the B.C. Public School System, released in November 2015.
The Evergreen is a B.C. school-completion certificate awarded to students with a special needs designation. It is not a graduation certificate like the Dogwood and is usually not sufficient for direct entry into most post-secondary programs.
Government’s goal is to ensure all students receive a Dogwood diploma prior to leaving school so they are prepared for university, college and skills training so they can take advantage of British Columbia’s strong and growing economy.
The changes support the Ministry of Education’s work to increase the six-year graduation rate for Aboriginal students, which has risen from 39% in 2000-01 to an all-time high of 63% in 2014-15.