Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

Indian and Northern Affairs Canada

December 09, 2010 14:57 ET

Government of Canada and Assembly of First Nations Announce the Creation of a Panel of Experts to Lead Engagement on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Dec. 9, 2010) - The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and non-status Indians, and Shawn Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, announced today that a Panel of Experts will be created to explore and advise on the development of options, including legislation, to improve elementary and secondary education outcomes for First Nation children who live on-reserve.

"By working collaboratively we are taking the right steps towards providing First Nation students with the quality education they require for success," said Minister Duncan. "The Panel will travel across Canada to hear views and opinions on how best we can improve and reform the governance and accountability of the First Nation education system. I am confident that through this process, we will be able to make concrete and positive changes for First Nation students."

"Improving First Nation education is a top priority for First Nations leadership right across the country as affirmed at our Assembly almost exactly one year ago," said Assembly of First Nations National Chief, Shawn Atleo. "We are pleased that the Government of Canada is committing to work with us and to focus on the fundamental improvements urgently needed that will support all of our children and generate hope and opportunity." 

The Panel of Experts will be tasked with the mandate to lead an engagement process to hear from First Nation leaders, parents, students, elders, teachers, provinces and all those with an interest and a view on how to enhance the education system and outcomes of First Nation learners.

The Panel will present a progress report to the Minister and to the National Chief following the engagement process. The final report with recommendations will be delivered in mid 2011.

The appointment of members to the Panel and details of the engagement activities will be made available early in the new year.

Backgrounder

ELEMENTARY/SECONDARY EDUCATION REFORM

MANDATE OF THE PANEL OF EXPERTS

The Panel of Experts, appointed by the Minister in collaboration with the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, will be mandated to lead an engagement process on elementary/secondary education for First Nations students on reserve, beginning in early 2011.

This important step builds on the Government of Canada's commitment made in Budget 2010, to work with First Nations along with other partners to strengthen and improve First Nations education. Options will be developed to make concrete and positive changes for First Nation students, including the possibility of new legislation to improve the governance framework and clarify accountability for First Nation elementary and secondary education.

The Panel of Experts will be made up of respected and qualified individuals, each of whom will bring an informed perspective to the discussions. Panelists will be appointed based on their knowledge of education issues, demonstrated interest in Aboriginal issues, innovative approaches and their ability to be objective and solutions-oriented.

The engagement process is an integral part of reforming elementary/secondary education for First Nation students on-reserve.

The Panel of Experts will lead one national and eight regional roundtable sessions, to be held across the country.

A progress report is to be presented to the Minister and to the National Chief following the engagement process and a final report is to be delivered in mid 2011.

The Panel of Experts will be announced early in the new year, along with further details on the engagement process and opportunities for participation.

Contact Information

  • Office of the Honourable John Duncan
    Minister's Office
    Michele-Jamali Paquette
    Press Secretary
    819-997-0002
    or
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
    Media Relations
    819-953-1160
    or
    Assembly of First Nations
    Jenna Young
    Communications Officer
    613-241-6789, ext 401
    or
    Assembly of First Nations
    Alain Garon
    Bilingual Communications Officer
    613-241-6789, ext 382