AFN Education has always worked to support First Nations in their efforts to further Treaty and inherent rights to education and First Nations Control of First Nations Education, which includes:
Equitable and sustainable funding for First Nations education within a lifelong learning context;
Quality of education based on First Nations driven education systems;
First Nations driven timelines and priorities; and
First Nations language recognition and revitalization.
The 2017 federal budget announced $90 million over 2 years to support First Nations students. Budget 2017 also announced the Government will undertake a comprehensive and collaborative review with Indigenous partners of all current federal programs that support Indigenous students who wish to pursue post-secondary education. The purpose of the review will be to ensure that these programs meet the needs of individual students while supporting attendance at, and completion of, a post-secondary degree or credential.
On March 22, 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau tabled his first federal budget. An historic $8.4 billion over 5 years in investments have been made on Indigenous issues, including lifting the 2% cap on education programming. Specifically, the federal budget invested $3.7 billion over 5 years for First Nations education, including $969 million for education infrastructure and $275 million over 5 years for languages and cultures.
JOINT TASK TEAMS
To provide specialist advice regarding various aspects of regional First Nations education, five joint national Task Teams were established, including: Funding Mechanisms, Statutory Funding Framework, Early Childhood Education, Post-Secondary Education, Measurement and Mutual Accountability. In 2017 two more national Task Teams will be added to focus on Infrastructure and the unique needs of Northern and Remote Communities.
Each Task Team is incorporating regional First Nations frames of reference in all discussion in order that all developments are steeped in and build on existing regional systems that honour the diversity and autonomy of First Nations across Canada.
AFN First Nation Directors of Education Forum
The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) hosted the National First Nation Directors of Education Forum on March 1-2, 2017 in Alberta, on traditional Tsuut’ina First Nations territory. The Forum brought together over 800 participants and speakers for keynote presentations, panels and interactive workshops, while encouraging discussion among all in attendance about ways forward for First Nations education.