Panel of Experts to Advise on First Nations Education

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Dream CatcherOTTAWA – John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and non?status Indians, and Shawn Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, announced today that a Panel of Experts will be created to explore and advise on the development of options, including legislation, to improve elementary and secondary education outcomes for First Nation children who live on-reserve.

“By working collaboratively we are taking the right steps towards providing First Nation students with the quality education they require for success,” said Minister Duncan. “The Panel will travel across Canada to hear views and opinions on how best we can improve and reform the governance and accountability of the First Nation education system. I am confident that through this process, we will be able to make concrete and positive changes for First Nation students.”

“Improving First Nation education is a top priority for First Nations leadership right across the country as affirmed at our Assembly almost exactly one year ago,” said Assembly of First Nations National Chief, Shawn Atleo. “We are pleased that the Government of Canada is committing to work with us and to focus on the fundamental improvements urgently needed that will support all of our children and generate hope and opportunity.”

The Panel of Experts will be tasked with the mandate to lead an engagement process to hear from First Nation leaders, parents, students, elders, teachers, provinces and all those with an interest and a view on how to enhance the education system and outcomes of First Nation learners.

The Panel will present a progress report to the Minister and to the National Chief following the engagement process. The final report with recommendations will be delivered in mid 2011.

The appointment of members to the Panel and details of the engagement activities will be made available early in 2011.