Saskatchewan Polytechnic, as part of an international network of post-secondary institutions, is signatory to the SDG Accord, a global initiative to further the United Nation (UN)’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Led by the Alliance for Sustainability Leadership in Education (EAUC) and supported by Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICan), the accord is the post-secondary sector’s collective response to advance the critical role that education has in delivering 17 global targets for reducing inequality, ending poverty and hunger, improving health and education, protecting the planet, and enabling innovation and meaningful work for prosperity by 2030.
The UN’s SDGs are grouped in five thematic areas: People, Prosperity, Planet, Peace, Partnership.
Watch CICan’s video invitation to join signatories in making a bold, urgent and collective step towards sustainability.
SDG alignment with strategic goals
The SDG Accord calls upon the world’s colleges, polytechnics and universities to embed the Sustainable Development Goals into education, research, leadership, operations, administration, and engagement activities, and to align all major efforts with the Sustainable Development Goals, targets and indicators.
Increasingly, the work Sask Polytech advances as part of our institutional strategy, Leading the Rise, supports the goals outlined by the United Nations.
Signatories of the accord report annually on their respective progress in the spirit of collaboration.
The report of the study group on global education states that “Indigenous youth are among the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population, and Indigenous people’s share of the Canadian workforce is expected to double by 2036.” This presents a unique challenge to Canadian Post-secondary institutions where Indigenous students are underrepresented in international learning programs.
To overcome this challenge, Saskatchewan Polytechnic and Parkland College are working in partnership to support the international mobility for outbound Indigenous and low-income students. Project exchanges will occur in countries where Saskatchewan Polytechnic has partnership Memorandums of Understanding (China, India, Mexico, Uganda, Vietnam, Mexico, Ukraine).
The partnership is vital to the success of the next generation of diverse learners living in Saskatchewan’s urban and rural settings, as Indigenous students comprise 19% of Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s and 38% of Parkland College’s student population. Both institutions have multiple campuses which serve remote, rural, and northern areas of the province.
“Providing young Canadians with more opportunities to gain education and experience abroad will ensure they are better equipped for the jobs of tomorrow. This is part of our plan to grow the middle class and ensure more Canadians get that fair chance at success.” Patty Hajdu, Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour, January 2017 – November, 2019
- Improved language skills
- Experience a different style of teaching
- Enhance relationship building
- Experience cultural immersion
- Develop confidence
- Enhance career development
- Low interest of Indigenous students in study abroad due to lack of travel experience.
- Study missions abroad are not relevant to students’ interests.
Other Potential Barriers Identified by Wilfred Laurier University’s Research Report:
- Finances and personal commitments
- Complications of the process
- Racism and safety
- Lack of an Indigenous approach to study abroad
Given the speed at which the Indigenous youth population is growing, and Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s institutional commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls-to-Action, the institution owes a duty of care to Indigenous and low-income students, to decrease their barriers to participation in global learning experiences. Saskatchewan Polytechnic will support its partner, Parkland College, by offering spaces (30) in its mobility programs and providing wrap-around supports to rural Parkland Indigenous students.
Young Africa Works-Kenya: Youth Employability through TVET (Technical and Vocational Education and Training) project is a partnership between Colleges and Institutes Canada (CICAN), the Mastercard Foundation, the Kenyan Ministry of Education, and the private sector. The project aims to build capacity in hospitality and trades programming and create opportunities for underrepresented groups, specifically women and youth at the three partner institutions in Kenya. The project will also stimulate the Kenyan economy by supporting entrepreneurs and enterprises of various sizes to meet labour market demand.
Saskatchewan Polytechnic plays a key role in the project by building capacity through trades programming. As part of the partnership, Saskatchewan Polytechnic will work with Weru Vocational Technical College (Kilifi, Coastal Kenya) to assist in improving its Automotive and Welding programs.
A particular focus of the Young Africa Works-Kenya project includes competency-based curriculum development, pre-service and in-service training of trainers, prior learning assessment and recognition, delivery of life skills/employability curricula, and establishing work placements for trainees. The project also addresses the need for safe learning spaces to increase the participation of youth, specifically young women, in training that leads to employment.
- Saskatchewan Polytechnic will impart high quality Competency-Based Education and Training (CBET) courses linked to labour market demands.
- Technical staff will ensure up to date curricula.
- Pathways created from unemployment through training to employment.
- Increased participative safety for all dimensions of diversity.
- Lack of enforcement by government and partner colleges of gender equality policies and practices.
- There is risk of conflicting interests from project stakeholders.
Saskatchewan Polytechnic will play a key role in creating an economically stronger, Kenya. The project will help to build capacity in trades programming and create opportunities for underrepresented groups, specifically women and youth. The project will educate 5,000 male and female learners, train 150 instructors and school administrators, and assist in the creation of and or upgrading of six programs provided by Kenyan partner colleges.
SDG initiatives are overseen by Sask Polytech Strategy. For more information, please contact:
Lucy Pereira, Associate Vice-President, Strategy