On the eve of National Aboriginal Day, Education Minister Peter Fassbender and Tyrone McNeil, president of the First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC), signed a protocol agreement to help guide further collaboration on improving educational outcomes for B.C.’s Aboriginal students.
The agreement was signed at the Eslha7an Learning Centre on the Squamish Nation. This is the first formal protocol between FNESC and the ministry, which builds on previous federal and provincial agreements such as the Tripartite Education Framework Agreement (TEFA).
The protocol will help the parties continue to implement the requirements under TEFA, formalizes their bi-lateral relationship and provides a clear framework for how they will continue to cooperate on Aboriginal education initiatives. The protocol is a “living” document, meaning the parties can also attach appendices once consensus is reached on the details of future projects.
In addition to the protocol, and to help support government’s commitment to Aboriginal education, one professional development day for teachers next year will be focused on improving Aboriginal student learning. This is the first time Aboriginal education will be the sole area of focus for professional development across the province and will help educators incorporate Aboriginal content and perspectives into their classrooms.
In 2012, the federal government, the Province and B.C. First Nations (represented by FNESC) signed TEFA, a government-to-government style agreement to continue to make progress on education matters affecting Aboriginal communities. Under this agreement, the Province is required to support FNESC’s efforts to build capacity in the First Nations education system by:
- consulting on any changes to legislation, policy, standards and funding;
- sharing expertise, learning resources and bulk purchasing orders; and
- giving on-reserve schools and students access to provincial exams and Dogwoods.
Peter Fassbender, Minister of Education -
“We have seen steady and significant improvement for Aboriginal learners in recent years, and while we still have more work to do, we are absolutely committed to ensuring Aboriginal students have every opportunity to explore their passions and find success on their educational journeys.”
“The progress we’ve seen is in no small part due to the increased cooperation between our K-12 system and First Nations communities ─ and partners like FNESC have been integral in this work. This agreement not only strengthens the relationship between FNESC and the ministry, but lays a clear path forward on how we will continue to support Aboriginal learners, schools and communities.”
Tyrone McNeil, President of FNESC -
“B.C. First Nations are committed to continuing the development of government-to-government partnership with the Province of B.C., consistent with TEFA, to build upon and strengthen our regional system. With the signing of the protocol today we are reaffirming and strengthening our partnership with the Ministry of Education, preparing us to continue to work together to achieve quality education and improved outcomes for our First Nations students.”
- This school year there are approximately 66,600 Aboriginal students in both public and independent schools, or about 10.5% of the total student population in B.C.
- Since 2000-01, the six-year completion rate for Aboriginal students has increased by 45.6% to a record high of 61.6% in 2013-14.
- Through the ongoing provincial curriculum revision, Aboriginal culture and perspectives have been integrated throughout the grade levels and the history and ongoing legacy of the residential school system will be further enhanced.
- The ministry is currently developing a teacher resource for this fall that will help educators integrate Aboriginal content into the curriculum.
- Each year B.C. teachers participate in six professional development days, one of which is a provincial day designated by the Minister of Education.
- Currently 56 school districts - or 93% of boards - have an Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement in place. These agreements are a foundation for districts to collaborate with local First Nations and bring Aboriginal culture, perspectives and traditions into the classroom for the benefit of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students alike.
First Nations Education Steering Committee: http://www.fnesc.ca/
Aboriginal education, Ministry of Education: https://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/abed/
Tripartite Education Framework Agreement:
Government Communications and Public Engagement
Ministry of Education
First Nations Education Steering Committee
Jennifer White, Senior Communications Officer
604 812-4131 (cell)