TORONTO, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - Ministers of education are in Toronto this week
for the 99th meeting of their long-standing intergovernmental body, the Council of
Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), and are meeting today with
national Aboriginal organizations (NAOs).
CMEC 99 provided ministers with an opportunity to advance work on the
priorities outlined in Learn Canada 2020, their 2008 joint declaration and guiding document. The Toronto meeting
focused on early-childhood education, Aboriginal and international
education, 21st-century competencies in education, and CMEC's data and research
Early-Childhood Learning and Development
Ministers held a special session on early-childhood learning and
development, led by the Honourable Leona Dombrowsky, Minister of
Education for Ontario. They confirmed the importance of early learning
as one of the four pillars of Learn Canada 2020 and noted the large and growing body of research that shows the
positive effect of early learning on children's overall academic
Ministers committed to continue knowledge-sharing on early childhood
learning and development through CMEC to ensure that all provinces and
territories benefit from the learning and innovation taking place
throughout the country. "We must ensure that our children are
well-prepared from an early age for life's challenges and
opportunities," said Minister Dombrowsky. "Early learning helps meet
the needs of families and sets our children on the path for a stronger
Ministers gave final approval in principle of the CMEC strategy on
Aboriginal education, which provides for regionally appropriate work on
pan-Canadian Aboriginal-education data collection and research, teacher
education, and knowledge transfer among all those involved in
Aboriginal education. The plan also calls for ongoing discussion with
the federal government on Aboriginal education issues.
Ministers also reviewed plans for a fall 2011 CMEC forum at which
participants would share evidence and experiences about what works to
improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal learners.
In follow-up to the first meeting between provinces and territories and
China's ministry of education, which was held under the banner of CMEC
in September 2010, ministers of education reviewed plans for their
upcoming visit to China in June for the second high-level meeting with
"I am very honoured to be leading our delegation to China later this
year," said the Honourable Diane McGifford, Chair of CMEC and
Manitoba's Minister of Advanced Education and Literacy and Minister
responsible for International Education. "Provinces and territories
believe international education has emerged as an integral part of
Canada's future in an increasingly knowledge-based, interconnected
world. We look forward to continuing our dialogue with China on how to
deepen our education cooperation."
In follow-up to the August 2010 directive from the Council of the
Federation (COF), education ministers reviewed a working draft of an
international education marketing action plan. The action plan will
focus on value-added pan-Canadian initiatives that are aligned with the
needs and strategies of each provincial and territorial government and
leverage the considerable power of the already established brand for
Canadian education, Education au/in Canada. Ministers look forward to
continued partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and
International Trade (DFAIT) to attract more international students.
Ministers of education discussed how provinces and territories are
addressing the broad range of skills that young people will need to be
fully engaged workers and citizens in the knowledge society of the 21st century. Examples include critical thinking, information literacy,
collaborative learning, and new modes of civic engagement.
Representatives of the Canadian School Boards Association (CSBA), joined
ministers for the discussion and presented the organization's current
priorities, which include 21st-century competencies.
Education Data and Research
Also discussed were the many education data and research initiatives
undertaken by CMEC and Statistics Canada in cooperation with federal
partners such as Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC)
and international partners such as the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development (OECD). Ministers underscored the value of
timely and comparable data on education in Canada and the need for
sustainable, ongoing federal financial support for data collection and
Ministers reviewed results from OECD's 2009 Programme for International
Student Assessment (PISA). Canada remains one of the few countries in
the world where high PISA scores and high equity go together. Canadian
students not only score in the top tier of participants; the gap
between the highest and lowest performing students is relatively small.
"PISA results are a strong endorsement of Canada's systems of
education," said Minister McGifford. "Our approach to education means
that provinces and territories can tailor their education systems to
the unique needs of their citizens and use bodies like CMEC to ensure
that innovations and successes are shared."
While in Toronto, provincial and territorial officials continued work on
other priorities outlined in Learn Canada 2020, including literacy, and official languages. Officials also discussed
CMEC activities related to education for sustainable development.
Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada's ministers of
education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and
international levels and contributes to the fulfillment of the
constitutional jurisdiction for education conferred on the provinces
and territories. For more information, visit us at www.cmec.ca.
SOURCE Council of Ministers of Education, Canada
For further information:
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259