Canadian Education News

Canadian school boards a bit under fire
The Globe and Mail reported that the Ontario Public School Boards provide an explanation on their website on the “archaic entities” ?even existing in 2017.? The explainer describes the indispensable role of the school trustees in the protection of Canadian democratic heritage.

“The truth is that most school boards offer a sorry spectacle of Canadian democracy in action. They cannot even govern themselves,” The Globe and Mail said, “much less look out for the students in their charge. They are plagued by petty ideological battles, personality conflicts, incivility and sheer incompetence.”

One issue is low turnout when voting in school board elections allows for the mobilization of friends, relatives, and others to be enough to allow a person “to become a trustee.” The article asserts a seat won with the backing of a church group or a teachers? union can guarantee a lifetime seat on the board.

Payroll education a highlight at the CPA celebration of certifications
Canadian News Wire printed a press release from the Canadian Payroll Association (CPA). The CPA considers education a priority, and development of professional capacities and knowledge is important to the CPA.

The CPA recognizes educational accomplishments of “its Payroll Compliance Practitioner (PCP) and Certified Payroll Manager (CPM) graduates and alumni.” There was also celebration for an additional 1,000+ PCPs and CPMs.

The previous roster was over 13,500 CPMs and PCPs. “?this June 13-16, at the CPA’s 35th National Conference and Trade Show in Niagara Falls, Ontario, the Association will host the first ever Education Awards luncheon for its delegates.”

Secularism in publicly funded schools can be at the detriment of minority faiths
The Toronto Star, in an opinion piece, said, “If the true intent is for our schools to be secular, we would move toward one publicly funded system in which all the major religious holidays of our students are recognized and celebrated.”

This is in response to the current controversy over prayer in schools especially with the Peel District School Board. The opinion piece says religious accommodations in Canada have an “acrimonious history.” One religious minority asks for accommodation and the “chorus of opposition” demands secularism.

This is seen as a means to maintain the Christian majority as many accommodations have already been made to Christians with respect to holidays and other practices in schools. With the current anti-Muslim paranoia, according to the Toronto Star, the prior public ire over Sikhs, such as how in the early 1990s, many Canadians were in an uproar over the decision to allow Sikh cadet, Baltej Dhillon Singh to wear a turban as part of his RCMP uniform, is “instructive.”

$90 million committed to help Indigenous students
“In Budget 2017, we saw some concrete steps in the right direction. In addition to support for skills and employment training and funding to improve housing conditions for Indigenous people off-reserve, the budget offers welcome funding that helps clear the way for more Indigenous students to access post-secondary education,” the Vancouver Sun said.

Fewer Indigenous students?First Nations, M├ętis, and Inuit?have postsecondary degrees compared to non-Indigenous pupils. The national rate of accreditation is 26%. Whereas, the Indigenous rate is less than 10%.

It is more of an economic than a social justice issue. To build the prosperous future, postsecondary education for Indigenous students is important. The new budget commits $90 million to the Post-Secondary Student Support Program under Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

Canada aims to be an innovation hub
Montreal Gazette reports that, “The Government of Canada values the role of post-secondary institutions as they help equip young Canadians with the education and training they need for future careers that will help them join a strong, healthy middle class.”

There was a recent investment in the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies (SIIT) to give training allowing access to the middle-class jobs, which came to $1.97 million. The Canadian Innovation and Skills Plan wants to create a country capable of innovation, of being a “global centre for innovation.”

To be a hub for innovation in the world, Canada will need to be a place for job creation, growth across industries, and with the improvements in the livelihoods of Canadian citizens. The SIIT investment is part of this vision.

Muted federal responses on promises and Truth and Reconciliation Commission and promises
The Globe and Mail, in an article by Tracy Bear, director of the Indigenous Women’s Resilience Project in the Faculty of Native Studies, and Chris Andersen, who is interim dean of the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta, stated that the 150th anniversary of Canada is an important year for Canada.

2017 is a point for reflection as a country. It is also the 3rd anniversary for the finishing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “Two years ago, the TRC released its final report and 94 calls to action to ?redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.?”

With the celebrations, there is “vigorous debate” in Canada over the federal government promises to the Indigenous population of Canada and the “what might charitably be termed the muted delivery on those promises.”

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is an AUSU Councillor. He works with various organizations, and runs In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, and In-Sight Publishing.