HALIFAX, July 6, 2012 /CNW/ - Provincial and territorial ministers of
education were in Halifax this week for the 100th meeting of their long-standing intergovernmental body, the Council of
Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC).
Ministers used the occasion of their 100th meeting to celebrate provincial and territorial cooperation in
education and to further discussions on current challenges and
opportunities related to the delivery of high-quality education in the
Speaking at the close of the meeting, the Honourable Ramona Jennex,
Chair of CMEC and Minister of Education for Nova Scotia, noted that the
exclusive jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education has
favoured, and continues to favour, both high achievement and high
equity of outcomes among Canadian students. "Canada is in a very
advantageous position," she said. "Our decentralized education systems
allow us to deliver education in a way that meets the different needs
of very diverse student populations in what is a vast and complex
country. Our systems are incubators of innovation and are able to adapt
quickly and effectively to the needs of 21st-century learners."
Twenty-first century learning was the defining theme of the Halifax
meeting, where ministers exchanged on a number of education-related
Bullying: Safe Schools and a Culture of Respect and Care
Ministers shared information on anti-bullying initiatives in schools and
strategies on how best to ensure a safe, inclusive, and accepting
environment for all students. Particular attention was paid to the
issue of cyberbullying and its negative effect on student success and
well-being, both in and outside the classroom. Ministers discussed the
importance of tackling the root causes of bullying so that every
student ― regardless of race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation,
disability, religion, gender, or gender identity ― feels accepted at
"With advancements in communications technologies, the environment in
which teaching and learning occurs is changing rapidly. Canada's
provinces and territories are already global leaders in educational
achievement and in equity, but there are always new challenges to face.
While each province and territory is working with its education
community in its own way to counter bullying, all ministers of
education are united in their commitment to ensuring that schools in
Canada provide a safe and welcoming environment for all students," said
the Chair of CMEC.
Ministers agreed to continue to share best practices on bullying through
CMEC's national and international networks to ensure that provincial
and territorial education systems remain at the forefront of work in
Aboriginal Education: Moving forward
Aboriginal education continued to feature prominently in discussions at
CMEC. Ministers reiterated their commitment to improving outcomes for
Aboriginal learners through individual provincial and territorial
initiatives, in cooperation with local stakeholders, and at the
pan-Canadian level, through CMEC.
Ministers were pleased to welcome the Honourable Justice Murray
Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Justice Sinclair provided ministers with an update on the important
work of the commission.
"On behalf of all my colleagues at CMEC, I want to thank Justice
Sinclair for the important work he and his colleagues are doing in the
service of equity and justice for Aboriginal peoples," said the
Honourable Jackson Lafferty, Minister of Education, Culture and
Employment for Northwest Territories.
It was noted that provinces and territories are looking forward to
discussions with the federal government on Aboriginal education,
including discussions on the measures announced in the recent federal
Education in the 21st century: Challenges and Opportunities
Ministers recognize that education and postsecondary systems and
institutions must adapt to a rapidly changing environment, to equip
students with the skills and training needed for an increasingly
demanding labour market and to support citizens in the face of evolving
social, economic, and environmental challenges.
In keeping with the role of CMEC as a forum for sharing information on
innovative policy and practice in education, ministers discussed a
variety of issues, including: the diverse needs of the 21st century inclusive classroom, the role of the teaching profession in the
provision of public education, innovative postsecondary education
systems, and open-education resources (OER).
Ministers recognized the value of these exchanges at a pan-Canadian
level and agreed to use existing CMEC networks to ensure that provinces
and territories remain at the forefront of global trends related to
innovative policies and practices, notably those related to the
delivery of postsecondary education.
With regard to OER, ministers reaffirmed their commitment to open access
to knowledge and education and to the need to adapt teaching and
learning practices to the new realities of the information age. They
agreed that there was an urgent need for provinces and territories to
explore how to take advantage of the opportunities provided by new
communications technologies in order to improve the availability of
learning opportunities and materials at all levels of education and for
International Education: Representing Canada
As Canada's voice for education, CMEC plays a leadership role on the
world stage. Ministers shared the lessons they had learned through
representing Canada at recent international meetings of education
ministers, including meetings hosted by OECD, the Organization of
American States (OAS), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
body. They also discussed the importance of engaging their counterparts
from other countries to ensure that the experiences of provinces and
territories in education are shared and that the performance of
Canadian students can be benchmarked against international standards.
Ministers reiterated the importance of respecting the understandings
concluded between CMEC and the federal government on Canada's
participation at international meetings to ensure participation is
Ministers also focused on their continuing efforts to promote
international student mobility and ensure that Canada remains a
preferred destination for students from abroad, including their
collective efforts to implement the recommendations of the
International Education Marketing Action Plan, published last summer by
the Council of the Federation.
Provincial and territorial ministers repeated their invitation to
federal ministers to discuss with them how efforts in the areas of
international trade, foreign affairs, and immigration could support
provinces and territories in the implementation of the action plan,
with each partner drawing from their respective sphere of jurisdiction
"International education is about sharing with and learning from the
rest of world," said Minister Jennex. "We look forward to working with
the federal government, through CMEC, to make Canada a destination of
choice for international students and to ensure that young Canadians
have increasing opportunity to study abroad."
Early Childhood Learning and Development: Beginning the Journey of
While in Halifax, ministers discussed the recent experience of provinces
and territories in bringing together early childhood learning and
development to create a seamless continuum of learning from the early
years through to formal public schooling. Ministers also recognized the
importance of engaging children through purposeful play-based learning
as a means to achieving quality outcomes for early learners.
Provinces and territories will continue to exercise their collective
leadership in early learning by working with their partners across
sectors, both in Canada and internationally, so that all children have
access to high-quality learning experiences in their formative years.
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 exercise of the exclusive
jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education. For more
information, visit us at www.cmec.ca.
SOURCE Council of Ministers of Education, Canada
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