Students in B.C. will now have new possibilities to earn credits for First Nations language and culture programs through the expansion of the External Credentials Program (ECP).
As of Friday, July 1, 2022, First Nations will be able to create and approve their language and cultural learning programs to be recognized by the Ministry of Education and Child Care as external credentials that students can use toward graduating.
“The ministry is pleased to work in partnership with the First Nations Education Steering Committee to enable students to receive credit toward graduation for First Nations language and culture teaching that takes place outside of their regular school program,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child Care. “This new external credential option recognizes the valuable learning opportunities that First Nations provide to youth in their communities.”
To be eligible for external credentials, programs must have a level of depth and rigour that is comparable to Grade 10, 11 and 12 courses and ensure that a subject-matter expert will assess performance to determine students’ achievement and successful completion of the program.
Examples of language and culture programs that could count for an external credential under the expanded ECP include:
- First Nations language proficiency;
- First Nations drumming and/or dancing;
- A formal on‐the‐land learning program;
- A traditional medicine or traditional foods learning program;
- First Nations carving and traditional art; and
- A traditional sports program.
“The First Nations Education Steering Committee appreciates this important expansion of the External Credentials Program to respect the important work being done by First Nations to promote our students’ language and culture skills and knowledge,” said Tyrone McNeil, president, First Nations Education Steering Committee. “This change is a meaningful part of our ongoing partnership with the Ministry of Education and Child Care to make the B.C. education system more relevant and responsive to our students and our communities.”
Some external credentials may count for credit toward required courses for the B.C. Dogwood Diploma (e.g., arts education or applied design, skills, and technologies), while others may count as credit toward elective courses for graduation. Certain external credentials can also provide credits toward the adult graduation diploma.
The expansion of the ECP will also allow other new organizations and credentials to be recognized, which is the first time there have been significant changes since 2010. This change to the ECP is separate from the Province’s Indigenous-focused graduation requirement, which will require all students to take four credits of Indigenous courses to graduate, starting in the 2023-24 school year.
- The Ministry of Education and Child Care issues the guidelines and standards for external credentials.
- Through these changes to the ECP, First Nations will lead the identification of the language and culture programs they offer that can be considered for credit toward graduation, and will oversee delivery of these learning opportunities, including students’ attainment of an appropriate level of performance and proficiency.
New Indigenous-focused graduation requirement: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2022EDUC0007-000297