WEST VANCOUVER, BC, Oct. 24, 2019 /CNW/ - The provincial government has introduced legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration), that, once passed, will make British Columbia the first province/territory in Canada to legislate its endorsement of the UN Declaration.
First Nations have been working for decades to implement First Nations control of First Nations education in BC, and together they have created a comprehensive system of programs and services designed to support success for Indigenous learners. Those efforts are closely aligned with the UN Declaration, and particularly Article 14, which affirms the right of Indigenous peoples to establish and control their education systems. The UN Declaration also affirms the rights of Indigenous children to access education in their own languages and cultures, and to access an education free of discrimination.
The spirit of the UN Declaration is evident in the BC Tripartite Education Agreement: Supporting First Nations Student Success (BCTEA) that the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), the BC Ministry of Education, and Indigenous Services Canada signed in 2018. The purpose of BCTEA is "to set out how the Parties will work together, including making systemic shifts (i.e. legislative policy and practice reforms, to support successful education outcomes for all First Nations students, regardless of where they live or are enrolled in school in BC." The passage of this legislation will facilitate effective implementation of the BCTEA commitments and create new opportunities to transform education.
The First Nations Education Steering Committee is an independent organization directed by 126 representatives of First Nations and Tribal Councils in BC. FNESC looks forward to working with the Ministry of Education and other partners to align our collaborative work in education with the UN Declaration.
"Through this legislation we will further align our work to attain First Nations self-determination in education and we anticipate that the implementation of the UN Declaration will help build the collaborative, government-to-government framework that is required to realize successful educational outcomes for all First Nations students."
President, First Nations Education Steering Committee
- The BC Ministry of Education and First Nations Education Steering Committee have a close working relationship that is consistent with the Province's commitments to implement the UN Declaration, the Truth and Reconciliation of Canada Calls to Action, and the Draft Principles that Guide the Province of British Columbia's Relationship with Indigenous Peoples.
- To develop the legislation, the Province has been working with the First Nations Leadership Council (BC Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, and Union of BC Indian Chiefs), which were directed by First Nations Chiefs of BC.
- Article 14 of the UN Declaration states:
- Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.
- Indigenous individuals, particularly children, have the right to all levels and forms of education of the State without discrimination.
- States shall, in conjunction with indigenous peoples, take effective measures, in order for indigenous individuals, particularly children, including those living outside their communities, to have access, when possible, to an education in their own culture and provided in their own language.
SOURCE First Nations Education Steering Committee
For further information: Thane Bonar, Director of Communications and Policy, First Nations Education Steering Committee, Cell: 604-355-8649, Office: 604-925-6087