From an opinion piece by Shawn Atleo, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, in the Globe and Mail of Sunday, February 21, 2010.
Our agenda is about building strong First Nations that will see Canada fulfill its economic potential. The centre of this agenda is education. First Nations youth are the youngest and fastest-growing segment of our population. Their share of the labour force will triple over the next 20 years. First Nations youth who complete high school are twice as likely to be employed, and those who get university degrees triple their earning potential. Increasing their graduation rates to match those of other Canadians would inject an additional $71-billion into Canada’s economy over the next 10 years. This would help eliminate the employment gap, adding another $160-billion to the economy over a 10-year period.
Every other education system in Canada has a secure, legislated base for funding. First Nations education is not secure and is subject to policy change, reallocations and reductions. This is not acceptable – we seek a commitment to a sustainable funding framework.
Read the full piece in the Globe and Mail.