March 16, 2007 13:32 ET

Aboriginal post-secondary education calls for a non-partisan, practical, forward-looking approach says Report of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

QUEBEC, Feb. 16 - The First Nations Education Council (FNEC)
and the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador (AFNQL) have reacted
positively to the report of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and
Northern Development entitled, "No Higher Priority: Aboriginal Post-secondary
Education in Canada".

The report puts forward 10 key recommendations, which need to be
implemented in the short and long term by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
(INAC) in collaboration with First Nations.

Ms. Lise Bastien, Director of the FNEC located in Wendake, Quebec,
stated, "We are pleased to see that the Parliamentary Committee has confirmed
and recognizes the problems connected with post-secondary education among
First Nations. The elimination of the 2% annual cap and the assurance of
admissibility for First Nations students to post-secondary education are
urgent measures to put in place.

"Another major priority is the availability of basic funding and support
for the creation of First Nations post-secondary education institutions. These
institutions are an obvious solution for the improvement of academic success
among our students. This measure should be considered immediately," she added.

The Parliamentary Committee also recommends that INAC rectify the anomaly
of vocational training affecting the First Nations of Quebec, who have raised
this question for years now.

"It is completely unjustified and unacceptable that the Government of
Canada still demands to this day more studies and analyses in order to
demonstrate what the Committee has stated in its report. A number of previous
studies and reports already confirmed the Committee's conclusions and if the
government ignores these recommendations, it will have to assume full
responsibility for and accept the consequences of the First Nations social and
economic situation," stated Mr. Ghislain Picard, Regional Chief of the AFNQL.

"The new Government of Canada has the responsibility to act in an
honourable manner and to collaborate with First Nations in order to implement
these recommendations immediately," he affirmed.

The FNEC has represented 22 communities throughout Quebec for over twenty
years now. Its principal mission is to defend the interests of First Nations
communities in order to improve the educational services that are offered to
all First Nations students.

The APNQL is the regional organization which represents the Chiefs of the
First Nations of Quebec and Labrador.

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