McGuinty Government Boosts Investment In Aboriginal Education



    New Investment Will Benefit First Nation, Métis and Inuit Students

    SAULT STE MARIE, ON, April 5 /CNW/ - The McGuinty government is
supporting First Nation, Métis and Inuit students with a new grant that makes
more than $5 million available for school boards in Northern Ontario, Minister
Responsible for Aboriginal Affairs David Ramsay announced today.
    "This is part of our government's ongoing commitment to work with
Aboriginal organizations and communities to build a better future for First
Nation, Métis and Inuit children and youth," said Ramsay. "The funding will
provide enhanced, ongoing support for Aboriginal students."
    As part of the 2007-08 education investment, a new grant - the $10.5
million First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Supplement - has been
introduced that will provide increased funding for school boards to offer
Native Language and Native Studies courses, and support programs that assist
Aboriginal students. The new supplement is in addition to $12.7 million
invested in 2007 to support the implementation of the First Nation, Métis and
Inuit Education Policy Framework.
    "We have been increasing our investment in education over the past four
years and we're seeing the results - class sizes are smaller, student
achievement is on the rise and more students are graduating," said Wynne.
"This new funding will help us create a school environment that encourages
Aboriginal student engagement and achievement."
    These investments are part of the Ontario government's Aboriginal
Education Strategy to improve achievement for First Nation, Métis and Inuit
students. The strategy was announced in January 2007 with an initial $6
million investment and the launch of the First Nation, Métis and Inuit
Education Policy Framework, which will set the foundation for improving
achievement among Aboriginal students in provincially funded schools.
    The next step in the strategy will be a First Nation, Métis and Inuit
Education Conference in November that will bring together educators to discuss
putting the framework into practice in schools and boards. The conference will
introduce new resources for teachers, and provide practical tools and
strategies for educators that will help them support Aboriginal students in
Ontario's publicly funded schools and increase awareness about Aboriginal
histories, cultures and perspectives among all students.
    "Ontario is committed to improving support for First Nation, Métis, and
Inuit students in the publicly funded education system," said Ramsay. "We will
continue to work with our partners to improve opportunities for First Nation,
Métis and Inuit students."


    Disponible en français

    
                              www.edu.gov.on.ca
                           www.ontario.ca/progress


    Backgrounder
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------


                    SUPPORTING ABORIGINAL STUDENT SUCCESS
    

    The Ontario government is dedicated to excellence in publicly funded
education for all students and recognizes the need to develop specific
strategies to meet the needs of Ontario's First Nation, Métis and Inuit
students in provincially funded schools.

    Aboriginal Education Strategy

    In January 2007, the McGuinty government launched Ontario's new
Aboriginal Education Strategy. The strategy will help support learning and
achievement for Aboriginal students. In addition, it will help raise awareness
about First Nation, Métis and Inuit peoples' cultures, histories and
perspectives in schools.
    The new strategy is in line with the commitments made in Ontario's New
Approach to Aboriginal Affairs, released in spring 2005, which envisions
prosperous and healthy Aboriginal communities that will create a better future
for Aboriginal children and youth.
    Part of this new approach included a commitment to working together with
Aboriginal organizations and communities to improve achievement among
Aboriginal children and youth.

    Investments in Aboriginal Education

    The Ontario government's education investment for 2007-08 included the
new First Nations, Métis and Inuit Education Supplement. This new $10.5
million grant will:

    
    -  Provide increased funding for Native Languages programs offered in any
       of the seven Native Languages recognized in the Ontario curriculum
    -  Provide increased support for boards to offer any of the 10 native
       studies courses available in the Ontario curriculum
    -  Offer additional funding to support programs that assist Aboriginal
       students.

    The new supplement is in addition to $12.7 million invested in 2007 to
support the implementation of the First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education
Policy Framework. This funding is part of the government's education
investment of $18.3 billion in 2007-08 - an increase of $781 million over last
year. Since 2002-03, funding has increased by $3.5 billion - a 24 per cent
increase, or the equivalent of an increase of over $2,000 per student.

    The Ontario government has also provided:
    -  $2.3 million for Aboriginal Student-Focused Student Success Projects
    -  $650,000 annually for Alternative Secondary School Programs in Native
       Friendship Centres
    -  $50,000 to train teachers on Aboriginal perspectives in the revised
       elementary and secondary curriculum
    

    First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework

    The First Nation, Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework will be the
foundation for delivering quality education to all First Nation, Métis and
Inuit students in Ontario.
    The framework includes strategies for schools and school boards that will
boost Aboriginal student achievement and close the gap between Aboriginal and
non-Aboriginal students.
    Through regional consultations with school boards and school authorities,
Aboriginal communities and organizations, and other education stakeholders,
nearly 500 people provided feedback on the framework.

    High school programs translated on website

    In addition, information about new programs in Ontario's high schools is
now available online in five Aboriginal languages - Algonquin, Ojibwe,
Oji-Cree, Mohawk and Swampy Cree. The website (www.ontario.ca/6ways) is also
available in English, French and 24 other languages.


    Disponible en français

    
                              www.edu.gov.on.ca
                           www.ontario.ca/progress
    




For further information:

For further information: Michelle Despault, Minister's Office, Ministry
of Education, (416) 212-3747; Patricia MacNeil, Communications Branch, (416)
325-2676; Anne-Marie Flanagan, Minister's Office, Ontario Secretariat for
Aboriginal Affairs, (416) 327-0654;  Public Inquiries: (416) 325-2929 or
1-800-387-5514; TTY: 1-800-263-2892

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Ontario Ministry of Education

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