Improving Aboriginal Education


Most aboriginal schoolkids don't stay in school -- only about 14 per cent of those on the reserve have a college diploma. Few Canadians would deny there's something seriously wrong with native education. Ottawa and the Assembly of First Nations agreed to come up with a plan to improve education for aboriginal students. But those talks broke off. Today, we look at what happened and how to move forward.

Improving Aboriginal Education - Panel

We started this segment with a clip from Shawn Atleo -- the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations -- as you can hear, he is acutely aware of the ways the schools have failed aboriginal Canadians.

Earlier this month, Atleo walked away from the latest federal effort to fix aboriginal education in Canada. At issue is Ottawa's plan to create a First Nations Education Act by 2014. It was one of the recommendations made by a panel that spent 19 months travelling the country at the request of the Federal Government and the AFN. The panel made its recommendations but First Nations leaders reject any kind of new federal legislation around native education.

Scott Haldane was the chair of The National Panel on First Nations Elementary & Secondary Education. He's also the President and CEO of the YMCA of Canada and he joined us in Toronto.

Pamela Palmater is a lawyer and a professor in Ryerson University's Department of Politics and Public Administration. She's a member of the Mi'kmaq nation and she ran for the leadership of the Assembly of First Nations.

And Don Cochrane is the chair of the Park West School Division in Manitoba. About two years ago, the elementary school on the nearby Waywayseecappo reserve joined the school division as part of a pilot project. Don Cochrane was in Strathclair, Manitoba.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan was not available to speak to us this morning. We left a message requesting an interview with Shawn Atleo, the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. We didn't hear back at our deadline.

This segment was produced by The Current's Jessica DeMello, Winnipeg Network producer Suzanne Dufresne and Michael O'Halloran.

Other segments from today's show:

Hurricane Sandy & Socioeconomic Status

The BBC & Jimmy Savile Scandal

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