See the GNWT press release below – follow up to the national Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC) held earlier this month.
YELLOWKNIFE (July 11, 2014) – In Charlottetown, PEI this week, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment Jackson Lafferty presented a two-year strategy on national Aboriginal education to the Council of Ministers of Education (CMEC), to wide endorsement.
At the 2013 CMEC summit, Minister Lafferty was appointed CMEC Lead Minister on Aboriginal education to develop an Aboriginal education strategy that would lead the efforts of jurisdictions across Canada to ensure that education systems meet the needs of Aboriginal students.
“Research shows that effective Aboriginal education programs are key to achieving greater social and economic equality, considering that about half of the difference in labour force participation rates can be attributed to educational differences,” said Minister Lafferty. “This strategy focuses on continuing to promote and encourage the development of resources that address the legacy of Indian Residential Schools, developing curriculum and teaching resources focused on Canadian history and the legacy of Indian Residential Schools for use in Bachelor of Education and teacher education programs across Canada, supporting Aboriginal students pursuing careers in education, and sharing resources and promising practices in Aboriginal education. This is a critical need that we must address and, with the support of my colleagues across Canada, we have agreed to a unified approach that I am confident will set us on the right path.”
Education Ministers also agreed to hold the next CMEC meeting in Yellowknife in summer 2015, along with an Aboriginal Educator Summit to support Aboriginal students interested in pursuing a career in teaching. Ministers will be asked to discuss the importance of ensuring that all Canadian educators, regardless of whom they are or where they teach, possess an accurate understanding and awareness of the history and legacy of Canadian Indian Residential Schools. This development provides an incredible opportunity for ministers to expand upon this notion in the future towards a consideration of a commitment to implement mandatory Indian Residential School curriculum in all Bachelor of Education and pre-service teaching programs across Canada.
Within the second year, work will commence toward the development of a postsecondary resource on Indian residential schools and an online resource for sharing resources and promising practices on Aboriginal Education. These actions will support all jurisdictions in improving educational outcomes for Aboriginal learners and all Canadians. Ultimately, Ministers of Education recognize that improved educational outcomes for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit (FNMI) learners will benefit all Canadians, strengthen greater attachment of Aboriginal people to the labour force and support Aboriginal learners to be better prepared for an increasingly knowledge-based economy.
“We must continue to build on the tremendous work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission over the past few years to raise awareness of the legacy of Indian Residential Schools,” stated Minister Lafferty. “The Northwest Territories and Nunavut have heeded that call to action, and now include residential school resources as a dedicated part of their K-12 curricula. We must now expand our efforts to all Canadian education systems – K-12 and post-secondary. This is vital to the future of our communities, our economy and our country as a whole.”
For more information on the Aboriginal Education Proposal, visit www.cmec.ca.