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The Education Agenda
The Métis Nation has always placed a high priority on the educational needs of its citizenship and in ensuring that the voice of the Métis is clearly reflected in the education system. The MNO’s Statement of Prime Purpose identifies as a main objective “To encourage academic skills development and to enable citizens of the Métis Nation to attain their educational aspirations”. As such, the MNO has been actively engaged with the federal and provincial government, schools boards and other education stakeholders to move the agenda forward.In 2006 the MNO embarked on a number of focus groups with Métis citizens to review and provide recommendations into the Ministry of Education’s, “Ontario First Nation, Métis, and Inuit Education Policy Framework”. This new Education Policy Framework has prompted a number of new Ministry initiatives and is generating significant interest from School Boards in incorporating a Métis perspective in the classroom and the curriculum. There is a growing demand for presentations on Métis history and culture and a substantial number of sessions have already been delivered at various schools and conferences. School boards have also been actively seeking Métis participation in the development and design of the First Nation, Métis and Inuit student identification policies that school board are currently developing or implementing.
Most recently the MNO was invited to participate in the Ministry of Education’s Urban Aboriginal Education Pilot Project. This new $3 million investment is intended to support the needs of First Nation, Metis and Inuit students residing within urban settings. The pilot project will encompass the development of three urban Aboriginal Education models through the Toronto District School Board, Simcoe County District School Board and Lakehead District School Board. The models will be adapted to meet the needs of First Nation, Metis and Inuit students living in these respective urban areas and focus on building family & community engagement to support Aboriginal student success.
A Provincial Steering Committee has been developed with representatives from various school boards, government, the Ministry’s Aboriginal Education Office and representatives from Aboriginal organizations. The MNO is represented on this Provincial steering committee and as such will play an active role in providing overall guidance and direction for the project and in overseeing the development and implementation of the education models. There will also be three sub-committees developed to be responsible for the implementation and evaluation of the pilot projects, and the development of each urban education model. These sub-committees will also include representatives from the Métis Nation. We will continue to share more information and seek input and participation as this project progresses, as we will need to be vigilant to ensure that the Metis voice, issues and concerns are adequately addressed at each level.
While all these initiatives mark a positive step forward in ensuring that the Métis voice is entering into education policies and into the classroom there remains much more to be done. The MNO is in the process of developing a Métis Education Action Plan that will detail vision, goals and strategies going forward. In the next few months we will be advertising and holding community meetings as well as holding some videoconference sessions. I encourage all citizens to come out and participate. The MNO will also be establishing a special section on the MNO’s website at www.metisnation.org to provide updates on various educational initiatives and information on upcoming meetings.
I look forward to working with MNO citizens and community leaders on this important initiative. I would also encourage you to visit the Ministry of Educations website to obtain any further background information and specifically download the following documents: Building Bridges to Success for First Nation Métis and Inuit Students and Ontario First Nation Métis and Inuit Education Policy Framework.
If you have questions or comments, please feel free to contact Jen St.Germain, Director of Education and Training, at 1800-263-4889 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. As well, I can be reached at (807) 274-1516 or via email at email@example.com
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