Governments Initiate New Approach to First Nation Education in New Brunswick
Fredericton, New Brunswick (April 22, 2008) – The Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, the Honourable Ed Doherty, New Brunswick Minister responsible for the Aboriginal Affairs Secretariat, the Honourable Kelly Lamrock, New Brunswick Minister of Education and the New Brunswick Chiefs today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aimed at improving educational outcomes and closing the gap for First Nation students in New Brunswick in band-operated schools on reserve and provincial schools off reserve.”Education plays a crucial role in improving the quality of life of First Nations people,” said Minister Strahl. “We are moving forward with willing partners such as the Province of New Brunswick and New Brunswick First Nations to support First Nation students in reaching their full potential, whether they’re attending school on or off reserve. This shows our commitment to working with provinces and First Nations to find real solutions.”
The MOU signifies the commitment by all parties to ensure that Aboriginal youth enjoy the same opportunities as other Canadians by striking a new approach to standards, services and funding. This approach may include implementing school success plans, developing performance measurement criteria, improving service standards, assessing funding options and addressing consistency between education on and off reserve.
“One of the key priorities of our government’s education plan, When Kids Come First, is improving education programs and services for First Nations students,” said Lamrock. “This Memorandum of Understanding is a strong statement of how we are working co-operatively with New Brunswick’s First Nations and the federal government on this priority.”
“This Memorandum of Understanding is the first step in achieving our common goal of providing a quality education for First Nations students,” said Doherty. “Improving educational outcomes of First Nations students is essential to building a self-sufficient future for all First Nations and New Brunswick.
“The 15 First Nations within the Province of New Brunswick are committed to developing and implementing new and improved strategies that will improve the educational outcomes of our children attending public schools,” Chief David Peter-Paul from Pabineau First Nation. “Success on this front will require a sustained effort on the part of First Nations and the Department of Education that responds to the unique needs and aspirations of our Mi’gmag and Maliseet children. After many years of negotiation, First Nations, the Province of New Brunswick, and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada are proud to announce that we have reached an agreement that will enable us to work collaboratively in an effort to ensure that our First Nation children are better-educated and prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.”
Under this agreement, the New Brunswick Department of Education is committed to reinvesting fifty percent (50%) of all future new tuition funds received from First Nations and the federal government to improve programs and services for First Nation students in the public education system.
This MOU reinforces the commitment in the 2008 Federal Budget to “work with provincial governments, First Nations organizations and educators to develop new and more effective tools and approaches to First Nations education.”
For further information please contact:
Office of the Honourable Chuck Strahl
Department of Education
Province of New Brunswick
INAC Media Relationse
Chief David Peter-Paul