For many rural communities, the difference between viability and extinction is the existence of a bustling local school. Many rural places are struggling to retain their schools. Challenges include a steady outflow of young people to urban areas, and a lack of 21st century information and communications infrastructure. While the challenge to retain — let alone grow — rural schools is often a daunting one, there are ways forward.

While access to education is hugely important for all rural Canadians, it is particular vital for Aboriginal Canadians. With a population growth rate significantly higher than the national average, and clear evidence that Aboriginal employment rates increase dramatically with educational success, K-12 and post-secondary achievement is of vital importance for Aboriginal Canadians and the nation at large.