Working Together to Improve the Educational Achievement of Aboriginal Learners



    SASKATOON, Feb. 25 /CNW/ - An historic summit, designed to raise the
profile of Aboriginal education, concluded today in Saskatoon. The event was
organized by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), and brought
together leaders from over 40 national and regional Aboriginal organizations
with provincial and territorial ministers of education. A number of Aboriginal
affairs ministers were also present.
    The summit facilitated a pan-Canadian dialogue on eliminating the
achievement gap between First Nation, Métis, and Inuit learners and other
Canadian learners. Over the two-day event, ministers listened to participants
about the importance of strengthening partnerships. "The challenges are not
new, but our approach is. Aboriginal education issues have now been put at the
forefront of the CMEC agenda and we are determined to work in partnership with
our Aboriginal and federal colleagues," said the Honourable Kelly Lamrock,
Chair of CMEC and Minister of Education for New Brunswick.
    During the summit discussions, ministers heard that more support from the
federal government is critical to the success of Aboriginal learners.
Participants also raised issues such as the need to enhance Aboriginal
educational achievement, the need to focus on early learning opportunities,
the education funding gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal learners, the
limited participation in postsecondary education, and the shortage of quality
school infrastructure on reserve. Participants also underlined the need to
ensure that curricula are reflective of Aboriginal perspectives.
    "Our gathering has helped identify specific barriers confronting
Aboriginal learners. It has also offered fresh examples of what is working
across Canada. Importantly, there is a clear consensus on the significance of
postsecondary education for Aboriginal peoples in enriching communities and
fostering vibrant economies. It is time to work together to enhance access to
postsecondary education and take action," said Saskatchewan Minister of
Advanced Education, Employment and Labour, the Honourable Rob Norris.
    As part of its commitment to achieving the goals of Learn Canada 2020,
CMEC ministers will continue to engage all those who can and must participate
in eliminating the educational achievement gap of Aboriginal learners.
    "It has been an honour to host the CMEC Summit on Aboriginal Education in
Saskatchewan. My colleagues and I will take what we heard during the last two
days back to our home provinces and territories. We are committed to working
collaboratively to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal learners," said
Saskatchewan Minister of Education, the Honourable Ken Krawetz.
    In closing the summit, CMEC committed to forging an ongoing relationship
with national Aboriginal leaders and ministers of education agreed to
strengthening their existing relationships with regional representatives.
"While there are many issues that are the responsibility of the federal
government, there is much we can do now as ministers of education to align
programs and services to meet the needs and unleash the full potential of
Aboriginal learners," said Minister Lamrock.

    CMEC is an intergovernmental body composed of the ministers responsible
for elementary-secondary and advanced education from the provinces and
territories. Through CMEC, ministers share information and undertake projects
in areas of mutual interest and concern.




For further information:

For further information: Tamara Davis, Coordinator, Communications,
Cell: (416) 804-6548, Tel.: (416) 962-8100, ext. 241, E-mail: t.davis@cmec.ca,
www.cmec.ca

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Council of Ministers of Education, Canada

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