Earlier this year, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute published Free to Learn, a paper dealing with aboriginal post-secondary education. In this study the authors, Dave Snow and Calvin Helin, put forth the case for giving aboriginal youth a head start on post-secondary education funding through the creation of Aboriginal Post-Secondary Savings Accounts. These accounts would be opened at birth for every Registered Indian, would be topped up as the recipient progresses through high school, then paid directly to any accredited college, university or trade school where they enroll. It’s bold new thinking and it’s a suggestion that is endorsed by a dozen aboriginal leaders, educators and others, including Don Barraclough, Caroline Krause, Patrick Brazeau, Glenn Hudson and Gayle Bedard.
We decided, after seeing some of the reaction to the study, to see what the broader Canadian public thought of the idea. In May, we commissioned a survey that we report on today. Not surprising to us is the fact that 57% of the public think it’s the right way to go. Check it out on our web site.