WEST VANCOUVER, BC, Jan. 23, 2019 /CNW/ - Improving educational outcomes for First Nations students is central to the self-determination and well-being efforts of First Nations in British Columbia (B.C.).
Today, the Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Rob Fleming, British Columbia Minister of Education, and Tyrone McNeil, President of the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), announced the signing of the BC Tripartite Education Agreement which will benefit First Nations students, schools and communities across the province.
This five-year agreement replaces the BC Tripartite Education Framework Agreement (TEFA) originally signed in 2012, and is the result of an extensive engagement process between FNESC, Canada and B.C. It will benefit all First Nations students in B.C. and 200 First Nations, supporting students who attend any one of the 131 on-reserve First Nations schools or those who attend public or off-reserve independent schools in B.C.
The agreement will result in meaningful systemic changes in B.C. education, including:
- a more sufficient and sustained funding model for B.C. First Nations education;
- a new $20 million investment in funding for First Nations schools, including increased resources for First Nations language and culture and technology to enhance learning opportunities for students;
- new policies to promote beneficial First Nations education agreements between First Nations and School Boards, including improved transportation services;
- commitments to support the creation of a First Nations language policy leading to full-course offerings of First Nations languages in public schools;
- joint efforts to monitor student achievement data in order to inform policy and practice, and;
- professional development and information sharing opportunities to expand and deepen understanding of issues related to First Nations education.
Today's announcement reflects the commitment of the parties to work together to close the education outcome gaps between First Nations students and non-First Nation students. It recognizes that First Nations people have the right to make educational decisions that affect their students and to control their own education institutions, consistent with their unique needs, experiences, beliefs and values.
"Together, we are committing to a better future for more than 12,000 First Nations students. This Tripartite Education Agreement includes new investments in language and culture, better supports the needs of students attending school on-reserve or in provincial schools, and shows what can be accomplished in a strong partnership. I commend the First Nations Education Steering Committee for their leadership over the past decades and in ensuring this agreement becomes a reality."
The Honourable Seamus O'Regan
Minister of Indigenous Services
"The BC Tripartite Education Agreement means that more B.C. First Nations students will receive a quality and culturally-appropriate education. Developed in partnership, it will help instill a vital sense of secure personal cultural identity for proud First Nations youth. This agreement will also foster new opportunities by giving students the skills they need to thrive in today's environment, including technological skills, and prepare them for higher learning and future employment."
The Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations
"The partnership B.C. has with FNESC and the Government of Canada has been integral in helping to break down barriers and open up opportunities for First Nations students. We know Indigenous students thrive when schools reflect their unique heritage and that's why our government is committed to complete all the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. I look forward to continued collaboration to better support Indigenous students in the years ahead."
The Honourable Rob Fleming
Minister of Education
Province of British Columbia
"We recognize BCTEA as an opportunity to enhance First Nations control of First Nations education in B.C. for the benefit of all First Nation learners, families, and communities, which will contribute to the advancement of reconciliation and First Nations' rights to make decisions about the education of our students."
First Nations Education Steering Committee
- Canada will provide funding in accordance with the B.C. First Nations Education Funding model for First Nations students attending First Nations schools or public schools.
- Established in 1992, the First Nations Education Steering Committee works to advance quality education for all First Nations students in B.C. and to support communities in their efforts to improve the success of First Nations students.
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SOURCE Indigenous Services Canada
For further information: media may contact: Rachel Rappaport, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Seamus O'Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services, 819-934-2796; Media Relations, Indigenous Services Canada, 819-953-1160, SAC.media.ISC@canada.ca; Government Communications and Public Engagement, Ministry of Education, 250-356-5963; Jennifer White, Senior Communications Officer, First Nations Education Steering Committee, 604-812-4131