National Roundtable in Ottawa Will Conclude Engagement Process
SASKATOON, SK, Nov. 18, 2011 /CNW/ - First Nations leaders and education
experts in Saskatchewan told the National Panel on First Nation
Elementary and Secondary Education that strong governance structures
and quality infrastructure are core components of a quality of
education system and key to increasing high school graduation rates for
First Nation students. Teachers, principals, parents, students and
community leaders participating in a day-long roundtable in Saskatoon
highlighted they are doing the best with what they have but could be
achieving better outcomes with the benefit of secondary supports for
teacher training, student assessment, and curriculum development. The
Panel also heard that the ability to engage in multi-year planning and
job security and pay parity for teachers, comparable to that in the
public school system, are also key to building excellent schools with
low teacher turn-over.
Other key themes in Saskatchewan included the importance of parental and
community engagement and the need to nurture a foundation of language
and culture so students have the pride, self esteem and confidence to
succeed in K - 12, as well as to complete post-secondary programs.
Teachers also stressed the need for professional development
opportunities, the ability to share resources and best practices with
other on-and-off reserve colleagues, build capacity and have a
The ability to offer classes in a range subjects, such as drama and art,
in addition to core academic subjects like math, sciences and English
was also raised. "I wish First Nation high schools offered more
subjects. How do students know what they want to be if they don't have
the opportunity to take a variety of courses," asked Morgan Jimmy, a
grade 12 student at Sakewew High School in North Battleford. "How do
we get police officers, teachers, political leaders, doctors, dentists
etc. without classes like law, psychology, biology, chemistry, physics,
history, native studies and math courses like algebra and calculus?"
"The National Panel has witnessed extraordinary leadership across Canada
in support of First Nation student education in the K - 12 years.
Despite the challenges related to funding, infrastructure and community
and social issues, there are many, many examples of both First Nation
and other educators who are doing amazing things and achieving
exemplary outcomes," said Scott Haldane, Panel Chair. "The Panel is
grateful for the wealth of knowledge and guidance it has received
during the regional engagement process and will use it as the guiding
compass to draft our report to National Chief Atleo and Minister
Duncan," he stated.
The seven regional engagement sessions will culminate in a National
Roundtable in Ottawa on November 22nd. This final meeting will be an opportunity for the Panel to advance
thinking on possible approaches to improve the quality of education and
how to respond to regional and community diversity in the context of a
national report. Attending the national session will be community
leaders, educators, administrators, students and academics from across
Canada who share a focus and drive to improve First Nation K - 12
education and student success.
More than half of First Nations peoples are under age 25 and 350,000 are
under 14. Fewer than half of First Nations students attending schools
on- and off-reserve graduate from high school, compared to more than 80
per cent of other Canadian youth. Non-Aboriginal students are over 10
times more likely to obtain a university degree than on-reserve
students. Employment levels for First Nations students who graduate
university are virtually identical to other Canadians.
The Panel, a joint initiative of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Canada (AANDC) and the Assembly of First Nations, will
deliver its recommendations to the federal minister and National Chief
by year end.
For more information and to have your say in the development of
recommendations to improve First Nation elementary and secondary
education, please visit: www.firstnationeducation.ca. Follow the Panel's activities on Twitter at Panel_Education.
SOURCE National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education
For further information:
For media inquiries please contact:
Susan King: C: 613-725-5901; O: 613-744-8282; firstname.lastname@example.org