Dec. 16, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - New Brunswick has become the first province in Canada to take a new funding approach to First Nations education in an effort to close the achievement gap between First Nations and non-First Nations students.
A new enhanced education and services agreement between the province, District 15 and the Listuguj Mi'gmaq First Nation was signed Monday, Dec. 15. Under the agreement, 50 per cent of the fees paid by First Nations students attending public school in New Brunswick will be reinvested in the district to be targeted specifically to First Nations education initiatives. In addition, for the first time, First Nations representatives will have a say in how the money is spent. Currently, fees go into general revenues.
"We know there is a gap in achievement, and it is time to be more innovative and to do things differently to close that gap," said Education Minister Kelly Lamrock. "I'd like to congratulate the Listuguj Mi'gmaq First Nation for being the first to sign such a landmark agreement, and I look forward to working with other bands."
The Government of New Brunswick, District 15 Education Council and the Listuguj Mi'gmaq government will work collaboratively to develop and implement a District First Nations education plan that responds to the unique needs of Listuguj learners, and reflects the Provincial Aboriginal Education Committee's strategic plan, New Paths in First Nation Education.
Listugui is located in Quebec, but has 181 students attending three Campbellton-area schools: Lord Beaverbrook Elementary, Campbellton Middle School, and Sugarloaf High School. The Listuguj Mi'gmaq First Nation is the first to sign an enhanced education program and services agreement with the province. Negotiations are ongoing with the province's 15 First Nations bands.
"This strategy will further enhance the strong partnership that already exists between our school district and the educational leaders of the Listuguj First Nation," said John McLaughlin, District 15 superintendent. "In anticipation of this signing, we have all been thinking about strategies to better address the needs of our First Nation students, and we are ready to take the next important steps towards developing and implementing a comprehensive plan of action."
MEDIA CONTACTS: Johanne Le Blanc, 506-345-3085 or Valerie Kilfoil, 506-444-4919, communications, Department of Education.