ABORIGINAL EDUCATION ENHANCEMENT AGREEMENTS


Artist Chris Paul

What is an Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement (EA)?

An EA is a working agreement between a school district, all local Aboriginal communities, and the Ministry of Education designed to enhance the educational achievement of Aboriginal students. The EA establishes a collaborative partnership between Aboriginal communities and school districts that involves shared decision-making and specific goal setting to meet the educational needs of Aboriginal students.

EAs highlight the importance of academic performance and more importantly, stress the integral nature of Aboriginal traditional culture and languages to Aboriginal student development and success. Fundamental to EAs is the requirement that school districts provide strong programs on the culture of local Aboriginal peoples on whose traditional territories the districts are located.

Enhancement Agreements . . . .

  • are intended to continually improve the quality of education achieved by all Aboriginal students;
  • support strong cooperative, collaborative relationships between Aboriginal communities and school districts;
  • provide Aboriginal communities and districts greater autonomy to find solutions that work for Aboriginal students, the schools and the communities; and
  • require a high level of respect and trust to function.

Background

British Columbia schools have not been successful in ensuring that Aboriginal students receive a quality education, one that allows these students to succeed in the larger provincial economy while maintaining ties to their culture. Growing recognition of this problem led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 1999:

"We the undersigned, acknowledge that Aboriginal learners are not experiencing school success in British Columbia. We state our intention to work together within the mandates of our respective organizations to improve school success for Aboriginal learners in British Columbia."

Memorandum signatories include:

  • the Chiefs Action Committee,
  • the provincial Minister of Education,
  • the federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs, and
  • the President of the BC Teachers Federation.

The Memorandum of Understanding led to a framework for the creation of Enhancement Agreements. Through these agreements, new relationships and commitments were made to improve the educational success of Aboriginal students.

Scanned image of signed
memorandum (click for full size)