Follow-up to Summit
Ministers of education from the provinces and territories gathered this week in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories at the 89 th meeting of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC). One of their main focuses was “Competing for Tomorrow”, the historic postsecondary education and skills Summit held in Ottawa on February 24. Ministers voiced strong support for their Premiers’ decision to bring together the major players in postsecondary education and skills development from across the country and to make postsecondary education a national priority. They particularly acknowledged Premier McGuinty’s and Premier Charest’s continued leadership on behalf of the Council of the Federation (COF).
“Across Canada and around the world, governments have recognized the importance of building human capital to support a strong, competitive economy,” said the Honourable Joan Burke, Minister of Education for Newfoundland and Labrador and Chair of CMEC. “Governments have recognized that fostering world-class postsecondary education systems is the key to keeping their citizens and industries competitive in the global economy while supporting high standards of living.”
Ministers strongly support the efforts of the Premiers in the area of postsecondary education and skills and are committed to assisting the Premiers in the work of the Council of the Federation.
When the Premiers met in Banff on August 12, 2005, they noted that over the last decade federal transfers for postsecondary education institutions through the Canada Social Transfer (CST) have not kept pace with need. As a first step, Premiers called on the federal government to immediately restore the CST to 1994-1995 levels. “Ministers emphasized the urgency of restoring CST levels beginning this fiscal year. Ministers will be paying particularly close attention to the upcoming federal budget and the future directions of the federal government in postsecondary education,” said Minister Burke.
Other issues discussed by ministers
Special Session on Aboriginal Education
During their meeting, ministers held a special session on issues in Aboriginal education. A separate communiqué has been issued.
Programme for International Student Assessment ( PISA)
During their meeting, ministers also confirmed their intention to participate in the next round of international student assessments organized through the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). “ PISA provides Canada with valuable information on the success of our students in comparison to other countries around the world,” said Minister Burke. “It’s our international report card and shows us where we are doing well and where improvements may need to be made, in respect to the performance of our students in a global environment.”
The CMEC Copyright Consortium called on the new federal ministers of Canadian Heritage and Industry to establish without delay copyright legislation that includes an amendment for the educational use of the Internet.
Library Mail Rate Program
Ministers also called on the federal government to continue the Library Mail Rate program, through Canada Post, to allow public libraries and education institutions involved in distance learning to continue to distribute books at a reasonable cost and to include other educational materials in the program.
CMEC is an intergovernmental body composed of the ministers responsible for elementary-secondary and advanced education from the provinces and territories. Through CMEC, ministers share information and undertake projects in areas of mutual interest and concern.
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