“Historic Agreement” for First Nations Education

(Ottawa) Twenty -two Aborigine communities in Quebec will receive more than $ 1 billion over five years for elementary and secondary education. The agreement reached with the federal government should give them greater autonomy to manage these funds according to their needs.

Posted at 6:00 p.m.

Mylene Crete

Mylene Crete
The Press

“Unheard of”, according to several fellow sources The Press able to confirm details and who is not authorized to speak in public. The Minister of Indigenous Services, Patty Hajdu, and the regional chief of the Quebec-Labrador Assembly of First Nations, Ghislain Picard, will make the announcement in Kahnawake this Thursday morning.

“This historic agreement will promote the academic success of First Nations students in Quebec,” reads the announcement sent to the media. This will ensure quality education according to the models, priorities and realities of Aboriginal communities, while promoting their cultures and languages. »

The $ 1 billion envelope includes $ 310.6 million of fresh money already included in the final federal budget.

The parties agreed on a funding formula that would allow each community to receive equal funding and use it as it wished.

The 22 affected communities are located throughout Quebec, from Gaspésie to Abitibi-Témiscamingue. The needs are very different in each area. For example, Kitigan Zibi, of Outaouais, has been running his own school and issuing his own secondary diploma since 1985, which is recognized by CEGEPs and universities.

The situation is different in the community of Gespeg, in Gaspésie, where there is no school. So Aboriginal children attend one in Gaspé, which is run by the school’s local service center.

So some communities want to offer teaching programs in their language and culture, while others prefer to use these new funds to improve their working conditions to retain their staff. The money can also be used for technology support, classroom support or school transportation.

Primary Education Funding

A similar announcement was made Monday in British Columbia, where four Indigenous communities signed a self -management agreement for elementary and secondary education. They are thus given full latitude in teaching certification, school accreditation, graduation requirements, curriculum, and course approval. However, each agreement is different to meet the needs of the communities, which are different in each province.

In 2019, the federal government and the Assembly of First Nations agreed on a new approach to “First Nation Control of First Nation education”. The January 21 press release also referred to “more predictable and adequate funding”.

Ottawa then undertook to guarantee basic education funding comparable to the provinces. The funding formula included in the new agreements with communities must take into account factors such as distance, school size, language and socio-economic status.

An annual fee of $ 1,500 per student will also be paid to Aboriginal schools to support language and cultural programs. The federal government should also provide “new resources” for full-day kindergarten for 4- and 5-year-old children and predictable funding for special education that is “less driven by need. ”

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