Saskatoon, February 24, 2009 – An historic summit on Aboriginal education, organized by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), was opened today by the Honourable Kelly Lamrock, Chair of CMEC and Minister of Education for New Brunswick, the Honourable Ken Krawetz, Deputy Premier and Minister of Education for Saskatchewan and the Honourable Rob Norris, Minister of Advanced Education, Employment and Labour for Saskatchewan.
During the two-day summit, ministers of education, national and regional Aboriginal organizations, and representatives of the federal government will discuss strengthening Aboriginal successes in education. Participants will put forward approaches for working toward eliminating the achievement gaps between First Nations, Métis, and Inuit learners and non‑Aboriginal students. Some of the topics that will help frame their discussion include:
“As put forward in our joint declaration Learn Canada 2020, ministers of education recognize the direct link between a well-educated population and a socially progressive, sustainable society,” said Minister Lamrock. “Aboriginal success in education is one of our key priorities in reaching this goal and this summit will facilitate a national dialogue on the issue.”
“Saskatchewan is proud to host the summit and continue to play a leadership role with regard to CMEC’s commitment to Aboriginal education. Together with our First Nations, Métis, and Inuit partners, we need to continue to strengthen our relationships and build on our successes to make a significant impact in our children’s life-long learning journey,” said Deputy Premier Krawetz.
The number of Aboriginal young people is rapidly increasing, with an expectation that in the next 15 to 20 years, Aboriginal students will represent over 25 per cent of the elementary student population in some provinces and territories. There have been many gains in Aboriginal education across provinces and territories in recent years. However, more needs to be done to raise graduation rates.
“Eliminating the gap between Aboriginal learners and non-Aboriginal learners is an economic and ethical imperative. The future growth and prosperity of all provinces and territories is linked to the success of Aboriginal peoples,” concluded Minister Norris.
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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