Policy Directions in Aboriginal Education South of 60
Policy Directions in Aboriginal Education South of 60 for the First Ministers Meeting July 2005 1 Background Canada-Aboriginal Peoples Roundtable and follow-up sessions on lifelong learning resulted in: better understanding of challenges and opportunities in Aboriginal education unprecedented commitment to develop ideas and strategies to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal peoples and communities National Aboriginal Organizations,
Government of Canada, and provinces and territories now have the opportunity to work together to achieve positive outcomes in Aboriginal education. 2 Unique multilateral process underway Commitment to hold meeting of First Ministers and National Aboriginal leaders Multilateral planning process launched in February 2005, led by Federal-ProvincialTerritorial-Aboriginal Steering Committee. 3
Multilateral working groups Steering Committee established federalprovincial-territorial-Aboriginal working groups on the three areas of focus using distinctions-based approach. Working groups addressed specific issues with respect to First Nations, Mtis, and Inuit. This includes urban Aboriginal peoples, non-status Indians, Aboriginal women and youth and those living in rural, northern, and remote areas. Each group had an Aboriginal, provincial/territorial and federal Chair. 4 Identifying practical, concrete ways to improve outcomes Recurring theme is the need to establish a process for continuing dialogue, action and
accountability recognizing a longer term effort is required. In short term, focus is on identifying practical and concrete initiatives to improve outcomes. Working groups produced wide range of ideas for further consideration - early in the planning process. 5 Proposed priority areas Aboriginal Health Blueprint process is proceeding on separate but linked track. Exploratory multilateral work has been undertaken in three other areas: Relationships, Education (K-12), and Housing. At June 27, 2005 meeting of national Aboriginal leaders and federal, provincial, and territorial ministers, agreement that these three
areas, in addition to health, form the basis of the FMM agenda. 6 Multilateral process will move to next stage over the summer Work will continue over the summer to further refine potential initiatives in areas of focus. Although focus is on policy directions put forward at the Policy Retreat, opportunities in other areas could also be explored. Will continue to be collaborative, involving F/P/T governments and National Aboriginal Organizations. Process expected to be more streamlined and focused on achieving multilateral agreement on the outcomes of the First Ministers/Aboriginal
Leaders meeting. 7 At the same time, bilateral discussions are underway For education, INAC Regional Directors General and the Office of the Federal Interlocutor will have the lead for engaging their provincial and territorial contacts. Focus is on K-12 initiatives, both on and off reserve. Work will continue in other areas of lifelong learning programming, including early learning and child care, adult basic education, postsecondary education, Aboriginal languages and cultures, literacy and essential skills, and connectivity. 8
Key Objectives To support: Aboriginal learners by enhancing quality, accessibility and relevance of programs and supports; Education systems by strengthening planning, management, and pedagogical tools and services; and, Interconnections and collaboration between Aboriginal learners, educators, federalprovincial/territorial governments and other stakeholders. 9 Strategic Policy Directions As a crucial first step, INAC proposes to pursue the transformation of Aboriginal education by focusing on five key elements at the K-12 level:
Educational Jurisdiction Regional First Nation Education Systems School Innovation Strategic Performance and Reporting Measures Off Reserve K-12 Initiatives 10 Educational Jurisdiction Current National Context: Further progress on First Nation jurisdiction over First Nation education a key priority. Some First Nations are already engaged in
jurisdictional negotiations with the federal government, including: First Nations Education Steering Committee Union of Ontario Indians Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Fort Francis (Treaty 3) 11 Educational Jurisdiction (contd) Proposed Policy Direction: Consider issues and options to support First Nations in their development of governance
models for education and to move towards recognition of First Nation jurisdiction over education on reserve. Could include the development of strategies to implement educational jurisdiction outside of selfgovernment negotiations. 12 Regional First Nation Education Systems Current National Context: In the provinces, school boards serve an integral secondlevel (i.e. above school level) support function within successful education systems. In the absence of such support for on-reserve schools, First Nations have taken the initiative to create regional
school board-type entities in recent years. However, these organizations have different levels of capacity or are non-existent in some parts of Canada. Furthermore, these organizations are in the developmental stages and currently lack the stable and multi-year funding provided to their counterparts in provincial systems. 13 Regional First Nation Education Systems (contd)
Proposed Policy Direction: Provide investments to build on the existing efforts of First Nation second-level service organizations. First Nation schools would be able to draw on a range of school board-type services and benefit from economies of scale. Long-term goal could be to have complete geographic coverage by these regional systems across Canada. 14 School Innovation Current National Context: Demonstrated need for increased and more stable funding at the school level; a joint INAC-AFN Band-Operated Funding Formula Review is considering the level of resourcing provided to First Nation schools on reserve.
Overlap of goals and objectives in the INAC programs (New Paths, Teacher Recruitment & Retention, Parental & Community Engagement Strategy) and in the development of education systems. The Auditor General has noted failure to act on recommendations from evaluations of First Nation schools. Provincial school systems support individual schools in the implementation of school/community-based initiatives to address their unique circumstances and challenges. 15 School Innovation (contd) Proposed Policy Direction: Provide funding at the community level to support development of multi-year success plans to respond to local challenges, opportunities, and priorities. Would support the efforts of on-reserve schools
to respond to their schools evaluation recommendations. 16 Strategic Performance and Reporting Measures Current National Context: Improvement needed to overall management framework to ensure accountability and measure performance. Heavy reporting burden on First Nations. For First Nation education, there is no data management system similar to those provinces use to assess the effectiveness of their education systems. 17
Strategic Performance and Reporting Measures (contd) Proposed Policy Direction: Development and deployment of strategic performance and reporting measures, including an accompanying data management system for First Nations and INAC. Based on core performance indicators developed with First Nations. Flexible enough to accommodate both local and regional needs while allowing for efficient electronic
reporting to INAC. Would enable schools to access and use data collected in designing their success plans. 18 Off-Reserve Initiatives Current National Context: About two-thirds of school aged Aboriginal children attend schools in provincial/territorial education systems. 40% of on-reserve First Nation children attend provincial
elementary/secondary schools. Government of Canada historically focused on-reserve but recognizes education issues also extend off-reserve, and has made improving educational outcomes for all Aboriginal people (First Nation, Mtis, Inuit) a priority. Shared objectives to work together to improve outcomes and report on results. Council of Ministers of Education, Canada working on Action Plan for Aboriginal education; Government of Canada will be asked to
participate. 19 Off-Reserve Initiatives (contd) Proposed Policy Direction: Office of the Federal Interlocutor will enter into agreements with willing provincial/territorial, education and Aboriginal organizations to improve academic success of off-reserve Aboriginal students (e.g. research, data collection, parental involvement projects, stay-in-school initiatives, teacher education initiatives, etc). These agreements will depend upon provincial/territorial willingness and involvement, and will be flexible to account for
regional circumstances. OFI seeking long-term partnerships with interested provinces/ territories, systems, and institutions. The Inuit Relations Secretariat will enter into discussions with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and other relevant education Inuit organizations, about identifying measures and initiatives to improve the Inuit education system and articulate some outcomes and suggestions for concrete actions. 20 Current Process
Regional INAC officials, in conjunction with OFI and the Inuit Relations Secretariat, are briefing provincial/territorial education and Aboriginal affairs officials. Seeking out opportunities for consensus building and expressions of interest from provincial/territorial governments to work together on specific initiatives. Seeking provincial/territorial areas of priority in Aboriginal education.
First Ministers Meeting currently planned for November 2005. Continued collaborative work to further develop these proposed directions to make strategic transformation a reality. 21
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