Education issues explored through panel
An education panel in Sioux Lookout last week heard vital dialogue from educators and students from across the north.
The student and parent panel consisted of current and former students of the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council (NNEC) programming such as Wahsa Distance Education Centre, Pelican Falls First Nations High School and Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School.
The panel presenters shared personal first hand reflections on the successes and challenges of obtaining a formal education. The audience comprised of a variety of Northern NNEC educational staff, such as teachers, principals, directors, secretaries, nurses, support staff, and post-secondary counsellors.
The objective of the panel was to hear and reflect upon the stories of students and their parents. Through this dialogue, the aim is to make improvements in the delivery of First Nations education within the territory of Nishnawbe-Aski Nation and Treaty Three of NNEC.
This is the first occasion where students and parents spoke to NNEC about their education experiences. This panel addressed issues such as transition, student funding, racism and stereotyping, leaving behind home and family, adjusting to urban living, and bullying.
They also talked about how commitment, family support, and finding positive activities such as sports and exercise to compliment studies, and having an open mind would make life easier. The former students all agreed that support from the staff was also key to their success. The student and parent testimonials will help shape and guide how NNEC can respond to these concerns through appropriate programming. The anticipated outcome is to move towards education as a tool of empowerment versus as a tool of assimilation.
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