Ottawa, Ontario (June 21, 2011) - The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, and Shawn Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations , today officially launched an engagement process to explore solutions that will improve First Nation elementary and secondary education on reserve.
“Education is a targeted priority of the Canada-AFN Joint Action Plan,” said Minister Duncan. “Today’s announcement is a concrete example of the importance of partnership and collaboration. This engagement process will be looking at options, including legislation, to improve the education outcomes of First Nation students. It will be led by a National Panel composed of experienced individuals who have dedicated their careers to helping children and youth succeed. This engagement focuses on encouraging individuals to offer their input and insights on reforming elementary and secondary education on reserve.”
“All First Nations have made education a top priority,” commented National Chief Atleo. “This panel is an important opportunity to profile what is working and where there are barriers that must be overcome. We encourage all First Nations educators, leaders and families to fully engage. Our traditions have always emphasized the collective responsibility of supporting and nurturing our children’s success. We must drive forward this opportunity and bring forward the specific approaches to finally deliver sustainable, stable and equitable education enabling our students to succeed.”
The National Panel will lead the engagement process, which will include roundtable sessions, visits to First Nation schools and key meetings with stakeholders across the country. The engagement process is also designed to allow anyone with an interest and a view on how to improve First Nation elementary and secondary education to participate through a dedicated website where participants can post, vote and comment on ideas, and submit and/or read written submissions online.
The work of the National Panel gets underway this week with a visit to Akwesasne First Nation. More information on the National Panel engagement activities will be available on the National Panel’s website.
The National Panel will make recommendations to the Minister and National Chief on options to make concrete and positive changes for First Nation students, including possible legislation, to improve the governance framework and clarify accountability for First Nation elementary and secondary education. The Panel will report by the end of the 2011 calendar year.
To learn more about the engagement process and to make sure your voice is heard, visit Students First! .
Backgrounder – Mandate of the National Panel
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