Ministers of Education celebrate National Aboriginal Day

TORONTO, June 21, 2013 /CNW/ - Provincial and territorial ministers of education join today with Canadians from across the country to celebrate National Aboriginal Day.

Official observance of National Aboriginal Day was first established in 1996 by then Governor General Roméo LeBlanc as a day to honour the rich cultural heritage of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis peoples and underscore their important role in Canada's social, cultural, and economic life.

"National Aboriginal Day provides Canadians with the opportunity to learn more about First Nation, Metis, and Inuit perspectives, wisdom, cultures, and values," said the Honourable Ramona Jennex, Chair of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), and Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development for Nova Scotia. "Aboriginal peoples are an integral part of our past, our present, and our future. Education ministers are committed to working with first peoples and education stakeholders to ensure that future is brighter for all Canadians."

CMEC is pleased to be active on several fronts in Aboriginal education. In 2008, education ministers issued a ministerial declaration, Learn Canada 2020, which underscored the importance of Aboriginal learning, made it a key priority of provincial and territorial education ministers, and committed to eliminating the gap in academic achievement and graduation rates between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.

In 2009, CMEC held an unprecedented national summit on Aboriginal education which brought together provincial and territorial ministers responsible for education, leaders of the five national Aboriginal organizations, more than 40 representatives of regional Aboriginal organizations, representatives from the federal government, and provincial and territorial ministers responsible for Aboriginal affairs to discuss ways to improve Aboriginal outcomes in education. In 2011, CMEC brought together a variety of stakeholders, including educators, academics,  governmental officials, and representatives of Aboriginal organizations for the CMEC Educators' Forum on Aboriginal Education to share evidence and experiences of programs, policies, and practices for student success in Aboriginal early-childhood and K-12 education.

CMEC's pan-Canadian collaborative work continues on a number of issues, including regionally appropriate work on Aboriginal-education data collection and research, teacher education, knowledge transfer among all those involved in Aboriginal education, and ongoing discussion with the federal government on Aboriginal education. This work complements the many ongoing initiatives being taken by individual provinces and territories, in cooperation with Aboriginal education stakeholders, to make education a positive experience for Aboriginal learners.

Aboriginal Education will be on the agenda of the 101st CMEC meeting, which will be held July 4‒5, 2013, in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Ministers of Education will be reviewing work at both the pan-Canadian and jurisdictional levels on addressing the educational needs of First Nation, Inuit, and Métis students.

About CMEC

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

For further information:

Colin Bailey
Director, Communications
Cell: 416-929-6970
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259
E-mail: c.bailey@cmec.ca


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