Summary: The National Panel on First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education for Students on Reserve was established by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada and the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations to engage First Nations and Canadians in an exploration of First Nation education and to make recommendations for change and improvement.
Our report, entitled “Nurturing the Learning Spirit of First Nation Students”, includes 3 fundamental principles to guide First Nation education reform and 5 recommendations to support the goal of an effective First Nation Education System. We believe that these are practical recommendations that provide a roadmap to the future while pushing for an urgent timeline designed to ensure that improvements begin now.
- First Nation Education Reform must be based on the child’s right to their culture, language and identity, and to a quality education that is appropriate to their needs. The First Nation child must always be at the center of this effort through a “child first” commitment that is embraced by all.
- First Nation Education Reform must be undertaken in the spirit of reconciliation and collaboration among First Nations, the Government of Canada, and provincial and territorial governments.
- First Nation Education Reform must feature a commitment to mutual accountability for roles and responsibilities as well as financial inputs and education outcomes.
- Co-create a Child-Centered First Nation Education Act
- Create a National Commission for First Nation education to support education reform and improvement
- Facilitate and support the creation of a First Nation education system through the development of regional First Nation Education Organizations (FNEO) to provide support and services for First Nation schools and First Nation Students
- Ensure adequate funding to support a First Nation education system that meets the needs of First Nation learners, First Nation communities and Canada as a whole
- Establish an accountability and reporting framework to assess improvement in First Nation education