"Although progress has been made in advancing First Nations post-secondary education in B.C., we still have work to do to achieve the transformation envisioned in the Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Policy Framework," said McNeil of FNESC. ([dagger])
FNESC was formed in 1992 and represents First Nations education interests in British Columbia.
Both FNESC and IAHLA are recognized as the leading policy and advocacy bodies on First Nations post-secondary education in British Columbia.
The tripartite agreement, which was approved through federal legislation in 2006 and provincial legislation in 2007, provides additional funding to FNESC for on-reserve education.
Like many other First Nations and education organizations, FNESC is still in the process of analysing the First Nations Education Act.
"A curriculum offered in a sustained way, a respectful way, will go far in the long term in respectful relation building in Canada," wrote Deborah Jefferey, executive director of FNESC
Studies undertaken by FNESC indicate that First Nations students learning on reserve are funded at 40 per cent less than their provincial public school counterparts.
However, that funding was unsustainable regionally, said Kristen Harvey, communications director with FNESC. With the new agreement, funding will be fully covered by Ottawa.
Through the framework, the province has agreed to consult with FNESC regarding any proposed changes in provincial education policy.
This is not the first time FNESC has worked with the federal and provincial governments to further First Nations education in BC.
Jeffrey said the FNESC has "flagged" some areas of the tripartite agreement for ongoing discussion, including funding for technology and transportation.