Educators from across the province met in Saskatoon this week as part of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association Joint Conference.
Wednesday’s keynote speaker was Gary Merasty who is one of the authors of the recently released Joint Task Force Report on First Nations and Métis Education and Employment.
He says the province has already acted on a number of recommendations in the report including offering on-reserve driver training.
“People underestimate the power of a driver’s licence,” he says. “A driver’s licence gives you freedom, gives you mobility, it inspires you to say, ‘Hey, I want to get a job because I want to buy a vehicle.’”
Merasty also says while the provincial government has been willing to work with Aboriginal stakeholders to improve Indigenous education, the Harper government has not been so cooperative and it is time for the federal government to get on board.
“They need to be genuine, they need to show up as people who care, as opposed to canned political responses to the very real needs of our people, of our students.”
Overall, Merasty says politicians at all levels need to put their differences aside and work together to improve the educational system for Aboriginal students.
The joint conference included representatives from the League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents of Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Association of School Business Officials.
About 400 delegates from across the province attended the three-day conference.
It wound up on Wednesday.