First Nations education report released

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October 1, 2014 by realrenewal

by The Northern Policy Institute
Northern Policy Institute has released a report on First Nations Education in Canada. Picking up the Pieces: A Community School Based Approach to First Nation Education Renewal provides timely recommendations for improving education conditions in First Nations.
Following the withdrawal of the proposed First Nations Education Act Bill C-33 earlier this year, a controversial debate continues about how to best develop a quality First Nations education system in Canada; a system that better reflects the learning priorities and needs of First Nations communities.
The report, co-written by Dr. Paul W. Bennett and Jonathan Anuik, recommends an entirely different approach that depends on a responsive model of First Nations self-governance.
According to the report’s authors, a community driven education model with local decision-making powers called, Community School-Based Management (CSBM), is the way forward.
“Increased capital funding, as was proposed in Bill C-33, may have brought modest short-term gains to on-reserve schooling, but replacing one bureaucracy with another rarely improves the state of education or quality of learning,” says Paul W. Bennett. “A community school-based approach that shifts control of decision-making to local First Nations, stands a far better chance of making a difference and improving the achievement of all First Nations children and youth,” he suggests.
The report offers 7 major recommendations to improve First Nation school conditions and ultimately, student success rates.
A key recommendation is to embrace promising practices such as those enabling First Nations to develop their own educational programs based on local cultural traditions, languages, ways of learning and knowledge systems.
The importance of engaging parents, family and community in local governing boards is also emphasized.
The report also calls for a review of the adequacy of the proposed implementation funding for First Nation schools, which only provided $63,000 annually to each First Nation in Canada.
Concludes Jonathan Anuik; “Evidence proves that community school-based renewal rather than bureaucratic reform will build sustainable school communities, unlock the First Nations “learning spirit” at school and truly engage children and youth at schools on and off First Nations reserves.”
Note: The report can be found on RealRenewal’s Aboriginal Education page. The paper references some of the research work carried out by RealRenewal.
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