Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Letter of the Day

'Awkward and vulnerable'

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The article on the educational success of Waywayseecappo First Nation students (Education emancipation, May 19) is great. The four-way funding partnership appears to be working for everyone.

However, questions must be asked of the federal minister of aboriginal affairs. Why does the federal government refuse to provide matching provincial education funding to First Nation-controlled schools?

As the article points out, the federal government will pay the provincial school $10,500 per child compared to only $7,200 if the same child remains in the reserve school. Despite the shortfall in funding, the federal minister expects the reserve school to provide the provincial level of educational services. No one has stated how this is possible and the reasons for the inequity.

Such actions place First Nations in an awkward and vulnerable position. Despite constitutional guarantees for education, many First Nations and their schools are forced to arrange deals with provincial school divisions to provide an adequate education for their students. It appears that the federal government would rather deal with provincial school board employees rather than with First Nations education authorities.

Their actions also result in two-tier system of education. Such an approach might be called apartheid.

RON PHILLIPS

Nipissing University education faculty

North Bay, Ont.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 23, 2012 A11

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