Challenges in Post-Secondary Education

There are many challenges facing Nunatsiavut students who wish to continue their education and post-secondary colleges both in and outside the province. There are three major challenges worth discussing; relocation, financial burdens and stereotypes

Relocation: There are no institutions existing in any of the Nunatsiavut towns so students will have to move to places in Labrador like Happy Valley-Goose Bay or if attending Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) will have to move to St. John’s or Corner Brook in Newfoundland. This relocation can be a culture shock as the towns and cities are much larger and busier than those in Nunatsiavut. Most students will either be living within university residences or paying rent in off-campus housing. Living away from home and family for the first time is a struggle for anyone, especially when beginning university or college. Students may not have any friends or family support in their new town or city. This can be a sort of culture shock.
Transportation back and forth from Nunatsiavut in Northern Labrador is extremely costly and not readily available by many airlines. Driving from Southern Labrador and then using a ferry can take several days.

Financial Burden: Tuition, living expenses, textbooks, food and local transportation all add up, which are only in addition to travel expenses and moving expenses. Part time jobs are hard to manage and can be sometimes difficult to get. While there are some programs that subsidize costs, it is still a massive undertaking for students. The idea of these costs and possible student loans can deter many potential students from continuing their studies.

Stereotypes: there are some stereotypes that many people contain of young Aboriginal people. There is a misconstrued vision of Aboriginals being helpless, alcoholics, gas-sniffers, and government charity cases. Views of Aboriginal people from Labrador are often presented to the province by the media. The media influences the perception that the general public has of Aboriginals. The events and situations that the media report on involve usually the worst parts of life of the Aboriginals in Labrador. Stereotypes are formed and unless a person has received information contrary to societal perceptions, these stereotypes will continue to exist.
While it is well known that Aboriginal people receive funding from various governments, it is thought by many that they live and attend universities for free which is simply not the case. These stereotypes can be hard to deal with and live with.

 

Next

Lane, Jodie. “If We Tore Down Barriers Would We Still Be Equal: Nunatsiavut Students and Post-Secondary Education.” Morning Watch 40 (2013) capelin.library.mun.ca (accessed 25 October 2014), 42-9.

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