The Positive and the Challenging

What are the positive parts of the agreement?

The most significant – and positive – part of the AIP is the ability to shape the kind of education that First Nations students will receive in the future. Traditional teachings, Ojibwe-specific adaptations, and local First Nations history are just a few of the options that could be built into the curriculum delivery. Anishnaabe people are a visually-oriented people; learning can be also be enhanced for First Nations students through strong visual aids used in a culturally-focused curriculum.

As well, as can be seen in the diagram (right), there is a transfer of control, as well as policy development, from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, to the area First Nations, via the Central Education Office.

What are the challenges and concerns?

As in any negotiation process, there is always a need to be flexible in some demands and goals, in order to achieve a positive outcome. 

Currently, the negotiation teams are negotiating how the Final Agreement will handle Own Source Revenue (OSR), funds which the bands raise through economic development, and their impact on the Fiscal Transfer Agreement (FTA), which determines how funds are moved from the Treasury Board to the Education Authority. 

A second issue that is cause for concern is the importance of special education funding in the Final Agreement. Because special education is currently identified as a non-core part of education funding, it wouldn’t have the protection from reduction that core funding items enjoy.

Finally, the issue of capital funding must be resolved, so that funding levels are equivalent to non-First Nations students, allowing for the possibility of building on-reserve schools, if deemed necessary.

While the negotiating teams are hopeful that a compromise can be reached on either of these issues, they also have the potential to endanger completion of the Final Agreement.