Members of Onion Lake Cree Nation will be able to take some university courses without having to leave their home community.

The First Nation signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of Saskatchewan’s Colleges of Education and Nursing to create additional opportunities for potential post-secondary students  to learn where they live.

The agreement gives Onion Lake students the option of entering into the fields of either education or nursing, or completing prerequisites for other health sciences in Onion Lake through the support of the already established Indian Education Teaching Program (ITEP), run by the College of Education.

The College of Education has had many partnerships with First Nation communities through its ITEP program, which has been around for more than 40 years.

“The mandate of ITEP is to ensure Indian control of Indian Education and that is the guiding principle behind our program,” said Chris Scribe, co-ordinator of ITEP and First Nations, Métis and Inuit Programming in the College of Education.

Lorna Butler, dean of the College of Nursing, said that through this new agreement, Onion Lake Cree Nation students will have the advantage of learning together with others in the College of Education and ITEP. Once they complete their first year at Onion Lake, they can then apply to the College of Nursing to complete years two through four at one of our sites.

“The College of Nursing has been responsive to the needs of rural and remote communities by offering students the opportunity to obtain a nursing degree without leaving their home communities,” said Butler.

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