Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development announces Harper Government’s plan for First Nation education

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John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, with Greg Rickford, Member of Parliament for Kenora and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister.
John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, with Greg Rickford, Member of Parliament for Kenora and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister.
John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, with Greg Rickford, Member of Parliament for Kenora and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister.
John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, with Greg Rickford, Member of Parliament for Kenora and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister.

THUNDER BAY – John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development has announced details of the Harper Government’s plan for new investments in First Nation education, including $175 million for the construction and renovation of schools on reserve and an additional $100 million to support early literacy programming, services and partnerships with the provincial school systems.

“Our Government continues to take concrete steps to improve educational outcomes for First Nation students,” said Minister Duncan. “Our innovative approach to these additional funds builds on the $1.7 billion our government invests annually in First Nation elementary and secondary education and will ensure that more First Nation students get the education they need so they can pursue the same opportunities available to all Canadian students”.

The federal government is also seeking to combat the accusations that education in Aboriginal communities is not on a par with education in other parts of Canada.

In 2010-2011, the Government of Canada provided $1.51 billion to support First Nations elementary and secondary education. An additional $304 million was provided to First Nations for construction and maintenance of education facilities on reserve. These investments supported approximately 117,500 First Nation students, ordinarily resident on reserve, in their elementary or secondary education. In a release the department states, “Taking into consideration that a number of these students were part-time (e.g., kindergarten), this translated into 111,711 full-time equivalent students (FTEs) receiving support in 2010-2011. Approximately 60 percent of these students (67,567 FTEs) attended band-operated schools, while 36 percent (40,733 FTEs) attended provincially-operated schools. The remaining four per cent of students attended private schools or one of the seven federally-operated schools”.

Table 1

First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education:

Number of Full-Time Equivalent Students by Type of School (2010-2011)

BC AB SK MB ON QC Atlantic National Total
*NOTE: Data rounded to whole numbers
Full-Time Equivalent Students:
Band-operated schools 4,771 9,012 15,365 16,222 11,482 6,896 3,819 67,567
Provincial schools 8,495 6,521 3,378 5,019 6,152 8,940 2,228 40,733
Private schools 596 210 108 155 545 367 13 1,993
Federal schools 68 1,350 1,418
Number of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) students 13,862 15,811 18,851 21,396 19,528 16,203 6,060 111,711*

Table 2

First Nation Elementary and Secondary Education:

Funding Breakdown per FTE Student (2010-2011)*

BC AB SK MB ON QC Atlantic National
*NOTE: Per student elementary/secondary expenditures do not include education facilities expenditures
(A) Total Elementary/Secondary Expenditures
(in millions of dollars)
196.0 222.5 229.2 265.0 280.4 229.8 87.9 1,510.8
(B) Number of Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) students 13,862 15,811 18,851 21,396 19,528 16,203 6,060 111,711
Per Student Elementary/Secondary Expenditures
(A ÷ B)
$14,139 $14,072 $12,159 $12,383 $14,361 $14,182 $14,505 $13,542

 

Explanatory Notes:

Financial data: All financial data are sourced from AANDC‘s Integrated Financial System (IFS) and reflect total expenditures transferred by AANDC to First Nations and other partners for the purposes of supporting elementary and secondary education for First Nation students ordinarily resident on reserve.

Enrolment: Student numbers are derived from AANDC Nominal Roll data for the 2010/2011 school year.  The Nominal Roll data are provided by First Nations to AANDCAANDC requires the Nominal Roll, a registry of the number of students residing on reserve who attend school on and off reserve, be taken annually by First Nations and sent to AANDC regional offices. Figures for British Columbia include 38 FTEs (and associated expenditures) residing and attending school in Northern BC and who are funded through AANDC regional office in the Yukon.

Federal Schools: There are seven federal schools in Canada. Of these, five (JC Hill Senior Elementary School, Emily C. General School, Oliver Smith-Kawenni Io Elementary School, IL Thomas Odadrihonyani’ta’ School, and Jamieson Elementary School) serve the Six Nations Of The Grand River in Ontario, one (Quinte Mohawk School) serves the Tyendinaga Mohawk in Ontario and one (Legoff School) serves the Cold Lake First Nations in Alberta. Federal schools are located on reserve but are administered by the AANDC regional offices in Ontario and Alberta, at the request of the First Nations.

Education Agreements: These figures include funding provided under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and Northeastern Quebec Agreement, the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey Education Agreement and the BC First Nation Education Authority.  It should be noted that the funding for the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and Northeastern Quebec Agreement and the Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey Education Agreement cover more than K-12 education, which is not identified separately and, in the case of BC, the agreement is still under development. These numbers do not include either the FTE students or related education funding provided under comprehensive self-government arrangements where education is included with block funding allocations.

Per Student Elementary/Secondary Expenditures:  Calculations of per-student elementary/secondary expenditures are included for illustrative purposes only.  Calculations do not include those funds allocated for education facilities. There is considerable variation in the level of per-student funding across the country, and any funding comparisons must consider the factors that influence per-student funding levels in order to be meaningful. There are, in some cases, variations in per-student funding depending on where the school is located. Funding comparisons need to take into account important differences between schools such as their geographic location and size, which are important factors in determining how much funding a school receives from AANDC.

Excluded Data: The following education-related expenditures have been excluded as they are not in direct support of elementary/secondary students and their education:

  • Funding for post-secondary education
  • Funding for cultural centres, National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, and Youth Employment Strategy, as only a portion of these funds support elementary/secondary students.
  • Education-related expenses at AANDC‘s Headquarters
  • Education-related funding provided under Tribal Council Programs, and funding related to provincial territorial organizations provided through Indian Government Services programming.

On a per capita basis, AANDC provided approximately $13,542 per full-time equivalent student in 2010-2011 for elementary and secondary education expenditures. Not included in this calculation is an investment in 2010-2011 of approximately $304 million to maintain and improve education infrastructure for band-operated schools. It should be noted that there is considerable variation in the level of per-student funding across the country, and any funding comparisons must consider the factors that influence per-student funding levels in order to be meaningful

The funding will be invested in eight specific school construction and renovation projects, in new approaches to on-reserve infrastructure procurement and construction, as well as in proposal-driven processes for literacy and capacity-building projects to help First Nations prepare for the upcoming First Nation Education legislation announced in Economic Action Plan 2012.

A portion of the additional $175 million for infrastructure will fund projects in communities with some of the most urgent needs, including three new schools in 2012 and five other renovation and construction projects to be completed by 2015.

The Harper Government will invest $50 million to leverage First Nation and industry partnership proposals to ‘bundle’ the procurement and construction of multiple school projects in Northern Manitoba and Ontario. This will help encourage greater efficiency in the construction of on-reserve schools and expand the department’s ability to address the school infrastructure needs of a greater number of First Nation communities. The Government will also invest $25 million in support of First Nation proposals to cost-share school projects and to use innovative concepts in the design and procurement of schools. Officials will be inviting proposals related to these investments later this fall.

To ensure that First Nation education systems on reserve are prepared for the implementation of a First Nation Education Act, and to support early literacy programming and partnerships with the provincial school systems, the $100 million for education programming will be invested in AANDC’s new Strong Schools, Successful Students Initiative.

Under this initiative, eligible organizations will be invited to submit proposals for funding to build school administrative capacity, as well as for early literacy programming – such as early literacy assessment and intervention systems – and other supports and services for First Nation schools and students. A call for proposals will be issued later this fall with more details.

Each year, the Government of Canada invests approximately $1.5 billion in First Nation elementary and secondary school education programming, as well as approximately $200 million annually in First Nation school infrastructure. These investments support the approximately 117,500 on-reserve First Nation students across the country.

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