What will new “Panel of Experts” say that hasn’t already been said about First Nations education?
Am I alone in my curiosity as to whether this new “Panel of Experts … to improve elementary and secondary education outcomes for First Nation children who live on-reserve” will actually come up with anything especially new?
Recently announced by Indian Affairs Canada along with the Assembly of First Nations, 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.” It will then deliver its findings sometime in the summer of 2011.
Forgive me, but didn’t the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples do that already, like, 14 years ago?
Indeed, the Commission itself noted how, after reviewing decades’ worth of studies on Aboriginal education (22 reports in all), a consensus of sorts has emerged on what is to be done to make things better, including:
• Aboriginal control of education
• School courses in Aboriginal studies, including history, language and culture
• Training and hiring of more Aboriginal teachers
• Inclusion of Aboriginal parents, elders and educators in the education of Aboriginal children
• Special support programs for Aboriginal students, for example, counselling, substance abuse education, remedial education and retention programs
• Aboriginal language instruction from pre-school to post-secondary education
• The resolution of federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictional conflicts over responsibilities, or recognition by the federal government of its funding responsibility for education
• Training Aboriginal adults for teaching, para-professional and administrative positions in education
• More emphasis on pre-school and kindergarten education
So, will this newest ‘Panel of Experts’ substantively help to move the prospects of First Nations children forward — or simply re-invent the wheel? Stay tuned.