Partnership Supports Anishinabek Students in Ontario
TORONTO — Ontario and the Kinoomaadziwin Education Body (KEB) have signed a three-year $7.9 million agreement to support the achievement and well-being of Anishinabek students. Renewed three-year funding will support ongoing collaboration between the Anishinabek Education System and the provincially funded education system. The agreement will improve access to culturally relevant education supports and services Anishinabek students need to realize academic success and prepare for successful entry into the workforce.
This multi-year investment is part of the government’s plan to improve learning outcomes for Indigenous students. It will fund the ongoing implementation of the Master Education Agreement, which outlines education commitments between the 23 Participating First Nations of the Anishinabek Education System, Ontario, and the KEB.
The Master Education Agreement includes strategies to support the Anishinabek Education System in providing high-quality educational programs and services to Anishinabek students, 92 per cent of whom attend school in the provincially funded education system, by:
- Promoting First Nation student success and well-being through improved access to culturally relevant resources and supports
- Supporting student transitions between First Nation schools and provincially funded schools
- Enhancing collaboration between the Anishinabek Education System and provincially funded school boards, including data and information sharing
- Supporting the advancement of Anishinabek language and culture, and the knowledge of Anishinabek First Nation histories, perspectives, and contributions within the Anishinabek Education System and provincially funded schools.
“Ontario’s investment will help ensure that Indigenous students gain access to quality education that meets their needs and prepares them for academic and professional success,” said Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education. “Through this partnership, we are ensuring that Anishinabek students are supported with learning opportunities that will help ensure students graduate high school, pursue higher learning, and get access to good-paying jobs.”
The Anishinabek Education System came into full operational effect on April 1, 2018, and it recognizes the jurisdiction of Participating First Nations over on-reserve education from junior kindergarten to Grade 12. In partnership with 19 Ontario district school boards, the Anishinabek Education System supports the success and well-being of Anishinabek students in its own schools and provincially funded schools.
The province’s support for the Anishinabek Education System and the implementation of the Master Education Agreement is another step towards addressing the 94 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action. Ontario is also working in partnership with the KEB to integrate Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods in the classroom, which respond to Calls to Action No.10 and No.62. Through these and other initiatives, along with its ongoing work with Indigenous partners, the province is supporting reconciliation while helping to remove barriers, build a more supportive education system, and prepare First Nations students for success.
- As part of its Indigenous Education Strategy, Ontario continues to focus on supporting achievement and well-being of First Nation, Métis, and Inuit students within provincially-funded schools, and improving learning opportunities for Indigenous students. The strategy also aims to increase the knowledge and awareness of all students about Indigenous histories, cultures, perspectives, and contributions.
- In September, the Ontario government announced its plan to expand First Nation, Métis and Inuit content and learning in the elementary curriculum to further strengthen mandatory learning on topics of significance, including the residential school system and the reclamation and revitalization of identity, language, culture and community connections.
- In September, the Ontario government announced it is investing $23.96 million in 2021-22 to support Indigenous partners, school boards, and other education stakeholders in producing high-impact supports that provide equitable, culturally appropriate, positive, and safe learning environments for Indigenous students while strengthening Ontario’s education system and improving well-being for First Nation, Métis and Inuit learners, including:
- $3.923 million in project-based funding for the recruitment of Indigenous Graduation Coaches at targeted secondary schools to support Indigenous student achievement and well-being
- $500,000 each for 2020-21 and 2021-22 in mental health and addictions funds to expand the Indigenous Graduation Coach program over the summer of 2021 to support students transitioning from remote First Nation communities in Grade 8 to provincially-funded schools in Grade 9.
- The Anishinabek Education System is supported by the federal Anishinabek Nation Education Agreement, which is the largest sectoral self-governance education agreement pertaining to education in Canada.
- The Kinoomaadziwin Education Body is the central administrative structure for the Anishinabek Education System. The organization is lead by a 14-member Board of Directors and takes direction from the Participating First Nations. The KEB supports the implementation of educational priorities and manages government relationships with Canada and Ontario.
- The Reciprocal Education Approach (REA) improves First Nations student access to education in First Nation-operated and provincially funded schools.
- Ontario has designated the first week of November as Treaties Recognition Week to promote public education and awareness about treaties and treaty relationships. Students are better able to understand the significance of the treaties as they learn about the shared history of First Nations and non-Indigenous Ontarians throughout the curriculum.
“We are pleased to continue our partnership work with the Ministry of Education. Over the last three years, the Master Education Agreement has enabled joint projects with Ontario district school boards, language and culture initiatives in communities, the development of multiple education resources, and a changing relationship in how we work together to support all students of the Anishinabek Education System.”
– Christine Dokis
Director of Education, KEB
“Providing Indigenous students with access to culturally relevant learning opportunities and supports is critical to their academic and long-term success and to advancing reconciliation. Ontario’s ongoing partnership with the Kinoomaadziwin Education Body will ensure Anishinabek students, whether they attend First Nation or provincially funded schools, are provided with high-quality educational programs and services that meet their individual needs.”
– Greg Rickford
Minister of Indigenous Affairs