Report of the Auditor General to the Yukon Legislative Assembly—Public Schools and Advanced Education

by NationTalk on March 11, 20092361 Views

11 March 2009

First Nations education in Yukon

11. Yukon is home to 14 First Nations who make up about 25 percent of the Yukon population. In the late 19th century, missionaries, with financial support from the federal government, introduced Western schooling to Yukon First Nations. At the time, the Indian Act empowered the federal government to provide for the education of Status Indian children in schools.12. Responsibility for the education of Status Indian children was transferred to the Government of Yukon in 1951. When the last Indian residential school in Yukon closed, in the late 1960s, the Government of Yukon introduced a new integration policy for education.

13. In 2005, the Government of Yukon and Council of Yukon First Nations jointly created the Education Reform Project to improve learning opportunities and recommend changes to the education system. In February 2008, after three years of consultations, the Education Reform Project produced a report that covered 35 issues and made 207 recommendations. Overall, its recommendations are intended to reduce the educational gap between First Nations and other students. The report noted that many First Nations want to preserve their language and culture, while ensuring that their children succeed in mainstream society. Officials from the Department stated that they plan to address some of the recommendations with New Horizons, which was announced as part of a new education strategy in Yukon’s Budget 2008–2009.

14. In 2006, the Department established the First Nations Programs and Partnerships (FNPP) unit within the Public Schools Branch. The goals of the FNPP unit are to build productive relationships with First Nations communities, improve results of First Nations students, and support a higher degree of cultural inclusion in schools. In addition to First Nations languages, the Department is implementing new First Nations Yukon-specific curriculums through the FNPP unit. Some First Nations courses are being pilot tested, but it is too early to evaluate their success.

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