Just one day after the release of the final joint task force report on Aboriginal education and employment, the provincial government is moving to implement one of its 25 recommendations.
The report came out yesterday and today the government announced its first commitment to implement one of the 25 recommendations.
The province is expanding the drivers’ education program to include all First Nations high schools in the province.
The cost will be about $1.7 million and SGI will cover the tab.
Marchuk says expanding the program accomplishes a couple of things.
“The more trained students and young people we have the more safe the roads will be,” he says. “So safety is obviously issue number one and of course having a driver’s license is key to mobility and accessing opportunities.”
SGI minister Donna Harpaur says funding for First Nations schools is a federal responsibility but Ottawa appears unwilling to fund the expanded drivers’ education program so the province will go it alone if it has to.
“We have a growing economy and we have to engage in that connection between our students and the economy and this is one way of doing that and maybe we just have to overlook jurisdiction if need be,” she says.
Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Vice-Chief Simon Bird is pleased with the announcement.
He says it removes a barrier to mobility and employment for First Nations youth.
“This is an important issue we have been working with the provincial government on for the last two years and we see this as a positive step in moving forward on the joint task force,” he says.
The province plans to continue to push the federal government to help fund the program as well as to increase the per capita funding for students attending First Nation schools which runs about $1,000 per student below the provincial average.