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B.C. legislates $6.45M in annual funding for First Nations post-secondary

Funds to go to 44 educational institutes throughout the province
B.C. will be commiting $6.45 million a year to First Nations post-secondary education, after passing legislation on April 9, 2024. (Credit:Pixabay)

B.C. passed new legislation Tuesday (April 9) that guarantees First Nations post-secondary institutes $6.45 million in collective funding for every year going forward.

Eligible institutions fall under the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association and include education in college and university programs, achieving an adult high school diploma, learning and revitalizing languages and job-specific training and upgrading. All the programs provide safe and culturally relevant education.

Tyrone McNeil, president of First Nations Education Steering Committee, said in a statement that the annual funding is key to providing stability to their institutes.

The legislation was co-developed by the steering committe, the Ministry of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills and the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association.

Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Murray Rankin said it aims to address Article 14 (1) of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions providing education in their own languages, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.”

“For years, the right to a post-secondary education was denied to First Nations learners. Culturally appropriate opportunities did not exist,” Rankin said in a statement.

Forty-four post-secondary institutes are included under the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association.

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