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New hope for Native education

The federal government's reworked plan for native education sets minimum quality standards for reserve classrooms but leaves aboriginal schooling under First Nations control.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper outlined details at an aboriginal high school in southern Alberta along with Assembly of First Nations national Chief Shawn Atleo.

"This is historic and it is a great day for Canada, for First Nations communities and for the next generation," Harper said. "But it is also long overdue."

The plan calls for standards consistent with provincial standards off-reserve. It also says students will have to meet attendance requirements and teachers will have to be properly certified.

"We are talking about the kind of local control and response to local culture and history that we have in education across the country in most communities," says Harper.

Ottawa is to provide funding for core education, which includes language and cultural instruction, of $1.25 billion over three years starting in 2016. There's a provision for a 4.5 per cent annual increase. Another $500 million over seven years is to go toward infrastructure and $160 million over four years is set aside for implementation.

 

The Canadian Press
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