COAST SALISH TERRITORY/WEST VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Dec. 3, 2013) - A number of educational and professional organisations are expressing their support for First Nations control of First Nations education and are calling for the co-development of any First Nations education legislation, urging the federal government to set aside its proposed First Nations Education Act as it has been communicated to date.
The Association of Canadian Deans of Education, representing sixty-two faculties, colleges, schools and departments of education across Canada, has expressed serious concerns about the proposed legislation. In a letter to Honourable Minister Bernard Valcourt, Blye Frank, President of the Association, reminds the government that the proposal does not reflect First Nations control of First Nations education, "leaving Indigenous people without adequate resources, and yet with all the accountability."
Kris Magnusson, Chair of the Association of British Columbia Deans of Education, a body representing nine university-based faculties and departments, has sent a letter to the federal government indicating that the proposed Act undermines two decades of education progress in BC, raising "significant concern that current valued infrastructure, including programs and services, will be terminated."
"We would argue that in British Columbia the foundations for achieving [relevant] goals are already in place. Instead of the sorts of reforms proposed by this legislation, we further argue that what is really needed is adequate and sustained funding to support the existing comprehensive, integrated, and responsive system," writes Dean Magnusson.
Tyrone McNeil, BC First Nations Education Steering Committee President, states that the level of support from partners and other organisations is unprecedented. "The number of prominent educational partners and organisations weighing in to the dialogue regarding the proposed First Nations Education Act shows that this is a Canadian issue that has captured public attention. More Canadians support First Nations control of education, and are looking for government to set aside the proposed act and co-develop all educational reforms."
The University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University Deans of Education, along with the British Columbia Teachers' Federation, British Columbia School Trustees Association and Canadian School Boards Association have also sent letters to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, urging the government to set aside the proposed legislation and co-develop any education legislation or policy reform.