Ottawa aims to improve First Nations education
OTTAWA - The federal government is proposing a sweeping education overhaul on First Nations reserves in an attempt to bring aboriginal schools up to provincial standards.
The Conservatives have tabled a draft of the First Nations Education Act that would see Ottawa set and enforce standards for schools on aboriginal reserves, and wrest temporary control of those that fail to make the grade.
The government believes substandard schooling and academic performance has played a significant role in impoverishing native Canadians.
The draft bill calls for an outside inspector to review First Nations school standards and performance every year, and to make suggestions for improvement when necessary.
If the inspector finds that "major and persistent problems" aren't being dealt with on reserves, Ottawa can then appoint a temporary official to manage schools, particularly if there are "major risks to students' safety and outcomes."
Leading up to the unveiling of the legislation, aboriginal leaders cautioned the government against exerting too much control over First Nations.