December 06, 2012 at 18:47 PM EST
Statement by the Honourable John Duncan Regarding First Nation Education

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 12/06/12 -- The Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, issued the following statement today regarding his meeting with Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo, AFN Regional Chief Morley Googoo and other members of the Chiefs Committee on Education:

"I was pleased to meet today with National Chief Atleo, Regional Chief Googoo and other members of the Chiefs Committee on Education.

Our meeting was frank, productive and focused on how we can work together to achieve our shared objective: improving First Nation education. We agreed that a good education leads to greater economic opportunities for students, which in turn contributes to healthier, more prosperous and more self-sufficient First Nation communities. We also agreed that the current approach is not working; First Nation students are not graduating at the same rate as other Canadians, which limits their opportunities. Only significant changes to our approach to First Nation education will lead to improvements in graduation rates.

To that end, our Government will continue to build on our record of achievement, which includes the construction, since 2006, of over 30 new schools, renovations to more than 200 schools, and significant investments in programs to improve literacy and provide other supports. In addition, I reiterated our Government's commitment to working with First Nations to develop a First Nation Education Act. Our approach will be consistent with our obligations pursuant to section 35 of the Constitution Act,1982 and will include intensive consultation with First Nation parents, students, leaders and educators, as well as provinces. We will also explore mechanisms to ensure stable, predictable and sustainable funding for First Nation education.

Our meeting concluded with a firm commitment to continue seeking ways of working together to achieve our ultimate objective, which is improving the education and opportunities available to First Nation students."

This statement is also available on the Internet at www.aandc.gc.ca.

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Contacts:
Minister's Office
Jan O'Driscoll
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable John Duncan
819-997-0002

Media Relations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development Canada
819-953-1160

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