Ottawa, Ontario (January 27, 2012) – The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development; the Honourable George Abbott, Minister of Education for British Columbia (BC); and Tyrone McNeil, President of the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), today signed the Tripartite Education Framework Agreement which aims to provide BC First Nation students with access to quality education programs whether they attend school on or off reserve.
"Today I am pleased to announce that working in partnership with First Nations and the province of British Columbia, First Nation students will have the necessary tools to succeed," said Minister Duncan. "Together we will continue to put students first so they become confident, educated and skilled individuals who will create a strong economic future for First Nations communities and Canada."
The Tripartite Education Framework Agreement recognizes the shared interest of all signing partners to support the academic success of First Nation students in BC. Under this agreement, FNESC will support the delivery of quality education programs and services, meeting standards that will allow First Nation students to transfer without academic penalty, at similar levels of achievement, between First Nation schools and provincial public schools.
"Together with our government and First Nation partners, we are continuing to improve education outcomes for First Nation students in BC, regardless of where they live and learn," said Minister Abbott. "FNESC continues to do great work to improve the experience and outcomes of First Nation students, and I look forward to continuing our partnership together."
"Our mandate is to improve First Nation education," said Mr. McNeil. "This agreement reaffirms our commitment to continue the working relationship, based on mutual respect, recognition, collaboration and clarity of roles and responsibilities for First Nation education."
First Nations Schools Association President Greg Louie added, "We see great potential for the Tripartite Agreement to help us advance our important work in providing education programs with high standards and strategies that reflect our unique First Nations culture and aspirations."
This agreement is also supported by a new funding model that will result in First Nation schools being funded in the same way as similarly sized and situated provincial schools. This includes the addition of $15 million annually to support BC First Nations in the operation of on reserve schools and FNESC in the delivery of second level services (as announced in the federal Budget 2010).
BC First Nation Chiefs overwhelmingly endorsed the framework agreement in December.
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