Figure 37: Highest Level of Education Attained for First Nations, Albertans and Canadians 15 Years of Age and Over (2006)

Among health determinants, education is usually recognized as one of the most important indicators. As many studies have demonstrated, better educated individuals tend to be healthier34. This section examines the highest level of education attained and literacy.

Figure 37 indicates that the levels of education are virtually identical for Albertans and Canadians. In both cases, approximately one in four individuals has not completed high school, a similar proportion has high school certificates as their highest level of education and approximately 40 per cent have a trade certificate or some level of post-secondary education.

First Nations in Alberta are two to three times more likely to have not completed high school than their Albertan or Canadian counterparts. Figure 37 shows that 51.9 per cent of First Nations (both on- and offreserve) and 64.1per cent of on-reserve First Nations have not completed high school. This has obvious repercussions on the proportion of individuals completing trades and other post-secondary education, the focus of attention in recent years.

Previous censuses have indicated a much smaller proportion of First Nations in post-secondary education and lower high school graduation rates as compared to the general population. To assist university and/or college graduation in First Nations, a number of initiatives have been established including the Aboriginal Health Human Resources Initiative (AHHRI), a Health Careers program as well as targeted scholarships through the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards Foundation.

In addition, Aboriginal Human Resources Development Agreement (AHRDA) funding has been allowed to flow to college and university students.

34Raphael, D. (editor), “Social Determinants of Health: Canadian Perspectives”, Canadian Scholars’ Press Inc., 2004, A Statistical Profile on the Health of First Nations in Canada: Determinants of Health, 1999 to 2003, Health Canada, 2009

In this story...

  • Educational Attainment for Younger First Nations

    A gap in high school completion rate between First Nations and the rest of the population was anticipated, however, its magnitude was not. To better understand the issue, further work was undertaken. The key findings of this review are as follows: In a 2004 document, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada ... View Full Story »

     Percentage of Young Adults in Alberta without a High School Diploma (2006)
  • Educational Attainment: A National Perspective

    The issue of high school completion for First Nations is significant in Alberta, however, as Figure 39 illustrates, this issue is not limited to this province. Figure 39 shows almost half of First Nations in Canada (48.4 per cent) have not completed high school; this is much higher than ... View Full Story »

    Highest Level of Education Attained for First Nations (2006)
  • Educational Attainment: Communities in Alberta

    This section provides further information on educational attainment in First Nations communities in Alberta. Figure 40 shows differences among Treaty areas. Treaty 7 has higher educational attainment with greater proportions of First Nations who have completed high school, trade programs and post-secondary education among its on-reserve population. As Treaty 7 ... View Full Story »

    Highest Level of Education Attained for First Nations (2006)
  • Literacy

    The International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS) is one of the most recognized international literacy surveys. The 2003 version of the survey was conducted in seven countries (Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States). In Canada, the 2003 survey also identified a number of target populations ... View Full Story »

    Prose Literacy Distribution (2003)