institute ‘critically important’
Jaz mine glass is proudly referred to as a success story for the anishinabek educational institute.
the registered practical nurse from Nipissing First Nation found that after high school, university “wasn’t fitting for me.
“i didn’t know what i wanted to do. it was all overwhelming.”
it was when glass went home and decided to pursue her nursing studies at the Nipissing First Nation facility that she found her niche.
“it was the smaller classes, more one-on-one instruction” that worked for her.
“there was a lot of support in place, there was tutoring available” so she was able to complete her education.
after working as a nurse, glass returned to the institute, first as an instructor and now as co-ordinator for the practical nursing, personal support worker and pre-health sciences programs.
“i’ve come full circle,” she said thursday at an open house for the anishinabek educational institute at the union of Ontario indians complex on highway 17.
“We’re unique in that we’re an aboriginal-run post-secondary institution,” said Kelly McLeod, the institute’s promotions and recruitment co-ordinator.
the 23-year-old institution has agreements in place with canadore college and Nipissing university to deliver programs that allow students to obtain their certificate or a diploma from an accredited, recognized postsecondary institution.
While the nursing program is full time, others have the students attend two weeks of classes at the campus while the remainder of the semester is spent at the student’s home, receiving lessons through distance education.
the nursing program also includes traditional medicines and teachings, to keep aboriginal culture and traditions alive, while following the current curriculum from colleges and universities.
it’s all part of the focus on taking care of their own community, McLeod says.
“the size of the classes is a real benefit,” she says. “Our students are here because the classes are smaller. it’s not like the mainstream. you become like family.”
Not only is the staff and faculty more supportive, McLeod said, but other students in the same classes provide more support than she believes a larger institution can provide.
they also are able to participate in traditional activities, ranging from medicine walks – where they learn about traditional medicines and practices – to a winter carnival and ice-fishing outings.
McLeod also points out that, depending on the number of students from a specific location, the institute can set up classes there to meet the needs of students in such remote communities as attawapiskat or Moose Factory.
and while non-aboriginal students are welcome to enrol, the primary aim, she said, is to help members of the First Nations community receive an education and get jobs to help people in their own community.
education director Murray Waboose says the institution is “critically important” to the community.
“it provides programs to reach out to the citizens who would normally not be able to have access to certain programs because of distances or family commitments,” he explains.
Students “follow the same regulatory requirements of any college,” he stresses, with support for the anishinabek language and culture.
Waboose said the institution is looking to expand and offer other programs, such as business, economic development and governance.
Kelly McLeod and Jazmine Glass believe the small class size and oneon-one support at the Anishinabek Educational Institute on Nipissing First Nation is a strong benefit to Indigenous students. The institute accepts both Aboriginal and nonaboriginal students.