January 23, 2019 — West Vancouver, British Columbia — Indigenous Services Canada
Improving educational outcomes for First Nations students is central to the self-determination and well-being efforts of First Nations in British Columbia (B.C.).
Today, the Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Indigenous Services, the Honourable Rob Fleming, British Columbia Minister of Education, and Tyrone McNeil, President of the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), announced the signing of the BC Tripartite Education Agreement which will benefit First Nations students, schools and communities across the province.
This five-year agreement replaces the BC Tripartite Education Framework Agreement (TEFA) originally signed in 2012, and is the result of an extensive engagement process between FNESC, Canada and B.C. It will benefit all First Nations students in B.C. and 200 First Nations, supporting students who attend any one of the 131 on-reserve First Nations schools or those who attend public or off-reserve independent schools in B.C.
The agreement will result in meaningful systemic changes in B.C. education, including:
- a more sufficient and sustained funding model for B.C. First Nations education;
- a new $20 million investment in funding for First Nations schools, including increased resources for First Nations language and culture and technology to enhance learning opportunities for students;
- new policies to promote beneficial First Nations education agreements between First Nations and School Boards, including improved transportation services;
- commitments to support the creation of a First Nations language policy leading to full-course offerings of First Nations languages in public schools;
- joint efforts to monitor student achievement data in order to inform policy and practice, and;
- professional development and information sharing opportunities to expand and deepen understanding of issues related to First Nations education.
Today’s announcement reflects the commitment of the parties to work together to close the education outcome gaps between First Nations students and non-First Nation students. It recognizes that First Nations people have the right to make educational decisions that affect their students and to control their own education institutions, consistent with their unique needs, experiences, beliefs and values.