Improving Education for Aboriginal Students



    
    McGuinty Government Building Stronger Relationships with Aboriginal
    Communities
    

    TORONTO, Feb. 24 /CNW/ -

    NEWS

    The Ontario government and First Nation, Métis and Inuit organizations
are working together to achieve better outcomes for Aboriginal students at all
levels of learning.
    Several new initiatives will help build stronger relationships and
provide increasing opportunities for First Nation, Métis and Inuit students in
Ontario. The Ontario government will:

    
    -   Provide $6 million in funding through the Access to Opportunities
        Strategy, to improve access to postsecondary opportunities and boost
        the number of Aboriginal graduates in Ontario.

    -   Work with the federal government and First Nation partners in talks
        about the future of Aboriginal postsecondary institutes in Ontario.

    -   Within the context of federal responsibility for on reserve
        Aboriginal education, work with the federal government and First
        Nation partners to improve the relationship between schools on
        reserve and provincially funded schools.

    -   Establish two new bodies to advise the Ontario government about
        Aboriginal education and training, including:
        -  A time-limited working table to provide advice about the
           development of a First Nation, Métis and Inuit Postsecondary
           Education and Training Policy Framework, and
        -  An advisory council on First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education to
           provide advice to the Minister of Education on the implementation
           of the Ontario First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy
           Framework launched in 2007.
    

    These new initiatives build on Ontario's Aboriginal Education Strategy
and will help close the education gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
students.

    QUOTES

    "As we work together to create strong relationships between the
government and our Aboriginal partners, we are improving the educational
opportunities for Aboriginal youth and creating a stronger, more inclusive
education system for all students," said Minister of Education Kathleen Wynne.
    "Ensuring that all Ontarians have access to valuable postsecondary
education and training is our priority," said Training, Colleges and
Universities Minister John Milloy. "We will continue to work closely with the
Aboriginal communities across Ontario to ensure that all Aboriginal students
in our province have access to the training, support, guidance and
opportunities they need to reach their full academic and career potential."
    "Closing the education gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students
is vital to ensuring greater success and opportunities for future
generations," said Aboriginal Affairs Minister Brad Duguid. "Our province and
Aboriginal communities will only grow stronger when everyone in Ontario can
access quality education and training opportunities."

    QUICK FACTS

    
    -   Almost 2,000 students are currently taking Native Language courses.
    -   The government invested $15.4M in Aboriginal postsecondary education
        initiatives within colleges, universities and Aboriginal institutions
        in 2008-09
    -   There are approximately 50,000 Aboriginal students in the Ontario
        publicly funded school system and approximately 11,000 Aboriginal
        students in Ontario enrolled in postsecondary education.

    LEARN MORE

    Read about the government's Aboriginal Education Strategy
(http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/aboriginal/).

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                                                   ontario.ca/education-news
                                               ontario.ca/postsecondary-news
                                                      Disponible en français


    BACKGROUNDER
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                       ABORIGINAL EDUCATION IN ONTARIO
    

    Since 2003, the McGuinty government has been committed to providing
accessible, high-quality education and training opportunities to Aboriginal
peoples at all levels of learning.
    There are increased opportunities for Aboriginal students and improved
resources so educators and staff can better support Aboriginal learners and
increase awareness about First Nation, Métis and Inuit cultures. The McGuinty
government has also created strong partnerships with Aboriginal communities
and organizations and is continuing to work closely with these partners to
build on these successes.

    New initiatives to support First Nation, Métis and Inuit learners

    A better working relationship between the government and Aboriginal
communities will lead to improved student engagement and achievement. A
variety of new initiatives will help build stronger relationships and provide
increasing opportunities for First Nation, Métis and Inuit students in
Ontario, including:

    
    -   Supporting counselling, tutoring, career planning and cultural
        awareness services at colleges, universities and Aboriginal
        institutions through the Access to Opportunities Strategy. This year,
        Ontario is providing $6 million in Access funding to build and
        improve access to postsecondary opportunities for Aboriginal students
        and boost the number of Aboriginal graduates in Ontario.

    -   Working with the federal government and First Nation partners in
        talks about the future of Aboriginal postsecondary institutes in
        Ontario.

    -   Within the context of federal responsibility for on reserve
        Aboriginal education, working with the federal government and First
        Nation partners to improve the relationship between schools on
        reserve and provincially funded schools.

    -   Establishing a time-limited Aboriginal Postsecondary Education &
        Training Working Table to provide advice about the development of a
        First Nation, Métis and Inuit Post Secondary Education and Training
        Policy Framework - the government's plan for delivering quality
        postsecondary education and training to all First Nation, Métis and
        Inuit students in Ontario.

    -   Creating an Advisory Council on First Nation, Métis and Inuit
        Education. The Council will provide advice to the Minister of
        Education on the implementation of the First Nation, Métis and Inuit
        Education Policy Framework launched in 2007.
    

    Ongoing work to support First Nation, Métis and Inuit learners

    In January 2007, Ontario launched an Aboriginal Education Strategy with
specific initiatives to support the learning and achievement of Aboriginal
elementary and secondary students. The strategy also includes initiatives to
increase knowledge and awareness about First Nation, Métis and Inuit
histories, cultures and perspectives among all students.
    Ontario is also committed to ensuring that Aboriginal learners continue
to have access to the training, programs and opportunities they need to
succeed and reach their full postsecondary academic potential.

    
    Current initiatives include:

    -   Supporting eight Alternative Secondary School Programs to address the
        learning and cultural needs of urban Aboriginal youth. The programs
        are run through Native Friendship Centres and help students complete
        their secondary school diploma.

    -   Developing and implementing curriculum resources for teachers to
        reach Aboriginal students and to teach all students about First
        Nation, Métis and Inuit cultures, traditions and histories.

    -   Developing effective strategies to engage First Nation, Métis and
        Inuit students living in large urban centres and meet their learning
        needs through the Urban Aboriginal Education Project. Three pilot
        projects are currently underway in Toronto, Barrie and Thunder Bay.

    -   Providing support to school boards to develop policies for voluntary,
        confidential Aboriginal student self-identification. This will help
        school boards gather reliable data to support Aboriginal student
        achievement. More than 80 school boards and school authorities have
        adopted or are developing policies.

    -   Helping colleges, universities and Aboriginal institutions develop
        programs and new curriculum and provide services to ensure that more
        Aboriginal students participate and graduate.
    

    Supportive Quotes

    "We are pleased the Ontario government remains focused on supporting
Aboriginal education and training," said Gary Lipinski, President of the Métis
Nation of Ontario. "We look forward to continuing to develop our relationship
with them in order to help raise awareness about the rich culture and history
of Métis people in Ontario."
    "We are pleased to be working with the Ontario government on initiatives
that support urban Aboriginal students," said Sheila McMahon, President,
Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres.

    
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                                                   ontario.ca/education-news
                                               ontario.ca/postsecondary-news
                                                      Disponible en français
    





For further information:

For further information: Ministry of Education, Michelle Despault,
Minister's Office, (416) 212-3747; Patricia MacNeil, Communications, (416)
325-2676; Public Inquiries, (416) 325-2929 or 1-800-387-5514, TTY
1-800-263-2892; Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, Annette
Phillips, Minister's Office, (416) 326-5748; Tanya Blazina, Communications
Branch, (416) 325-2746

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