Assembly of First Nations Releases Expert Report on Post Secondary Education:
"Enhancing support to ensure full opportunity and success for our youth"

OTTAWA, June 21 /CNW Telbec/ - On National Aboriginal Solidarity Day, the Assembly of First Nations released a discussion paper entitled Taking Action for First Nations Post-Secondary Education: Access, Opportunity, and Outcomes. The paper was prepared by First Nations experts on post secondary education and sets out an ambitious and innovative agenda to strengthen and enhance First Nations education.

"National Aboriginal Solidarity Day is the perfect day to release this discussion paper on First Nation post-secondary education," said AFN National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo. "Today we are celebrating who we are, our way of life and our culture. In spite of the many challenges we have faced, we remain a vital presence in this land because of our ability to maintain and pass on our culture. Education is an important part of this effort, and I thank the expert panel for their impressive work. I encourage anyone who believes in a better future for our children and for this country to read this paper."

Taking Action for First Nations Post-Secondary Education: Access, Opportunity, and Outcomes Discussion Paper sets out seven steps to improve First Nations education outcomes: Accessibility, Accountability, Data Collection and Reporting, Recognizing and Ensuring Student Success, Program Effectiveness, Support for First Nations Institutions and Leveraging of Other Resources. It also sets out key roles and responsibilities of all parties and presents options, from a First Nation perspective, on the best approaches for delivery and enhancement of existing programming.

"For too long, outside analysts and third parties have influenced First Nations education policy in a way that does not reflect our realities and our needs. This panel has produced a report with an important and unique perspective that will further advance the dialogue on post secondary education. We will take this paper forward to First Nation governments at our upcoming AFN Annual General Assembly and from there to the Government of Canada, based on the direction of the First Nation leadership. Let there be no mistake: First Nation governments have made education the top priority and we will continue to drive forward innovation and solutions to support all of our learners," the National Chief said.

In the wake of announcements by the Federal Government that it will reform post secondary education programming for First Nation students, the AFN was asked to begin this work by bringing together a group of experts and leaders in post secondary education for First Nation students. The concept was to collect their views and insights learned from first hand experience, and then setout a direction forward that is in the best interests of First Nation students from a First Nation perspective. The expert panel included individuals working in First Nations communities, in universities and in First Nation institutions. It was Co-Chaired by Dr. Rose-Alma J. McDonald and Dr. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux.

"In spite of under-funding and outdated policy and legislative frameworks, First Nations have been able to make gains and achieve a degree of success," National Chief Atleo stated. "Through First Nations controlled education, we have progressed from the dark days of the residential school era. The credit goes to the hard work of all our people working in the education field. With half our population under the age of 25, we clearly need better support and, to that end, we recently issued a Call to Action on First Nation Education calling on all segments of Canadian society to work with us hand in hand to ensure equitable education outcomes and support for programs like PSE and lifelong learning. This is not only about stronger First Nations, this is about a stronger and prosperous Canada for all," the National Chief stated.

The Taking Action for First Nations Post-Secondary Education: Access, Opportunity, and Outcomes Discussion Paper can be downloaded at this address: www.afn.ca

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

SOURCE Assembly of First Nations

For further information: For further information: Alain Garon, Bilingual Communications Officer, Assembly of First Nations, Office: 613-241-6789 (382), Cell: 613-292-0857, agaron@afn.ca


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