Feb. 24, 2009
SASKATOON, Sask. (CNB) - A historic national meeting on Aboriginal education chaired by Education Minister Kelly Lamrock opens today in Saskatoon.
The summit has been organized by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), and involves Canada's education ministers, the federal government and representatives from Aboriginal groups from across the country. Lamrock is the current chair of the CMEC.
"Ministers of education recognize the direct link between a well-educated population and a socially progressive, sustainable society," said Lamrock. "Success in Aboriginal and First Nations education is one of the key priorities put forward in our CMEC joint declaration, Learn Canada 2020. This summit will facilitate a national dialogue on the issue."
During the two-day meeting, participants will discuss the successes and challenges in Aboriginal education. Participants will put forward approaches for working toward eliminating the gap between First Nations, Métis and Inuit learners and non-Aboriginal students.
Despite many gains across provinces and territories in recent years, student drop-out rates among Aboriginal young people remain high, and the high-school to post-secondary transition rates remain low.
Earlier this year, New Brunswick became the first province in Canada to take a new funding approach to First Nations education to close the achievement gap between First Nations and non-First Nations students.
Under the agreement, 50 per cent of the fees paid by First Nations students attending public school in New Brunswick are reinvested in their school districts to target specifically First Nations education. In addition, for the first time, First Nations representatives have a say in how funding is spent. Currently, fees go into general revenues.
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Kilfoil, communications, Department of Education: 506-470-3178, firstname.lastname@example.org.