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Aboriginal Education in Canada

  • Date Submitted: 07/13/2012 08:10 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 26.4 
  • Words: 355
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With a national labor shortage upon us across Canada, some employers are expecting the availability of qualified Aboriginal employees to be part of the solution. Aboriginal people want to be included. From industry’s perspective, they must be included.National Inuit Leader Mary Simon, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, joined forces with Canada’s four other Aboriginal leaders and provincial and territorial premiers on Aug. 4 this year to ask Prime Minister Stephen Harper to convene a First Ministers’ Meeting on Aboriginal education within a year.
Today there are 518 schools on First Nations reserves in Canada. First Nation schools on reserves are the responsibility of the federal government. So, it is reasonable to think that education is critical to improving the social and economic strength of Aboriginal people and their communities to a level enjoyed by other Canadians.
So, why is this not happening?
Parents of First Nations students on reserves express the fear that their children are failing to develop a positive sense of their identity and that curricula rarely reflects their children’s true history, diverse cultures and languages and their contributions to Canada.
It is conceivable that there may be court challenges regarding curricula that exclude the experience and histories of Aboriginal people. The federal government claims that the Human Rights Act applies only to the delivery of government services, and not to the funding decisions that ultimately determine the kind and quality of services that can be provided.
Nationally, however, the education system as a whole is failing Aboriginal students.
The Canadian Centre for the Study of Living Standards calculates that $71.1 billion will be added to Canada’s economy if Aboriginal people attain the same educational levels as other Canadians. We cannot afford to lose another generation, so why all the vigorous opposition and underfunding of Aboriginal education, especially when one considers the...


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