105th Meeting of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC)



Toronto, July 8, 2016 – Provincial and territorial ministers  of education and postsecondary education came together this week in Toronto for  the annual meeting of their intergovernmental body, the Council of Ministers of  Education, Canada (CMEC).

Indigenous Education

Indigenous Education continues to be a high priority for CMEC. Ministers  underscored once more the importance of making the history and legacy of Indian  Residential Schools better known, as indicated in the final report of the Truth  and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRCC), and building a brighter  education future for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples.

At their 105th meeting, ministers reviewed an inventory of  actions in Indigenous Education that have been implemented in each province and  territory, and discussed the lessons that could be drawn from them.

"Indigenous Education must be responsive to local needs and realities,  but that doesn't mean we can't learn from each other" noted the Honourable  Doug Currie, Chair of CMEC and Minister of Education, Early Learning and  Culture for Prince Edward Island. "Dialogue and exchange at the pan-Canadian  level contribute positively to the work that each province and territory is doing  in cooperation with local and regional Indigenous organizations and with Indigenous  learners themselves."

Ministers agreed to make public the report of the CMEC Aboriginal Educators' Symposium, an unprecedented event held in  Yellowknife, Northwest Territories in 2015. At the symposium, Indigenous  educators and elders from across Canada came together to discuss how best to  encourage more  First Nations, Métis, and  Inuit peoples to pursue a teaching career and to ensure that Indigenous  educators remain active and flourish in the profession.

Ministers were pleased to note that the 2017 World Indigenous Peoples  Conference on Education (WIPCE) would be held in Toronto. WIPCE is the most  important event in the international Indigenous education movement, attracting  Indigenous representatives from around the globe to share successes and  strategies for culturally grounded Indigenous education. It was agreed that provinces  and territories would work with WIPCE organizers to discuss the role that CMEC could  play in this landmark event.

Ministers encouraged their counterparts in the federal government to  pursue their own work with Indigenous communities and organizations intended to  resolve the financial and governance issues which schools on reserves face and  for which the federal government has a fiduciary responsibility.

Global competencies

Ministers continued their conversation concerning the skills, knowledge,  and attitudes that students of all ages need in order to succeed in an economy  that is marked by ever-more rapid change, both structural and technological.  These "global competencies" build on solid  foundations in literacy and numeracy.

Discussion in Toronto revolved around six global competencies, their  definitions, and their potential real-world application in the classroom: critical  thinking and problem solving; innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship; learning  to learn/self-awareness and self-direction; collaboration; communication; and  global citizenship and sustainability.

Ministers agreed to address the issue of the assessment of global  competencies and noted that CMEC would benefit from continued dialogue with  other organizations, such as OECD and UNESCO, in order to arrive at a common  understanding of global competencies and to determine how best to assess their  acquisition.

In the course of the meeting, several ministers also gave examples of  approaches or initiatives they have implemented that address one or more of the  six global competencies. It was also noted that CMEC will be participating in  OECD's 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which will  introduce a global competencies component.

Postsecondary education

The sustainability of education systems is a concern of all provinces  and territories as they plan for a future in which education will be more important  than ever in ensuring the social and economic development of Canadians.

Ministers had the opportunity to discuss a number of key issues in  provincial and territorial postsecondary systems, including:

  • addressing current sustainability       challenges;
  • envisioning sustainable PSE systems;
  • keeping PSE relevant to students,       employers, and the public;
  • fostering innovative systems that adjust       to changes around them; and
  • examining compensation with PSE systems.

It was agreed that CMEC postsecondary education officials would continue  pan-Canadian discussion and research on strategies for maintaining and  enhancing provinces' and territories' robust postsecondary systems.

Student Transitions

Learning is a process involving several transitions. It begins within  the family, and continues through early childhood education, elementary and secondary  school, postsecondary education, and adult learning.

For their  105th meeting, ministers emphasized the transition of students from  secondary school to postsecondary education and into the workforce. A number of  ministers felt that a student's ability to transition from secondary school to  postsecondary education and into the world of work should be seen as a key  measure of success of provincial and territorial education systems, including  for students from underrepresented groups and those with complex needs.  Ministers also discussed the importance of the transition of students between  elementary and secondary schools.

Ministers discussed the development of a pan-Canadian student  transitions reference framework which would take into account the approaches adopted  by the provinces and territories, and tasked their officials with providing a  draft document by July 2017.

Canadian education on the world  stage

International relations have always been an important  part of the mandate of CMEC, reflecting the exclusive jurisdiction of provinces  and territories in education. CMEC can play a role as a collective voice in  educational matters on the world stage.

Ministers reviewed a variety of issues related to  education at the international level, including CMEC's representation at international  education-related fora and collective targeting of priority markets for the  recruitment of international students.

About CMEC

Founded in 1967, CMEC is a collective voice for  Canada's ministers of education and postsecondary education. It provides  leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and  contributes to the exercise of the exclusive jurisdiction of provinces and  territories over education. For more information, visit us at www.cmec.ca.

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Colin Bailey
Director, Communications
Cell: 416-938-1911
Tel.: 416-962-8100, ext. 259
E-mail: c.bailey@cmec.ca
Twitter: @CCMEC