Indigenous Education Enhancement Agreements
An EA is a working agreement between a school district, all local Indigenous communities, and the Ministry of Education designed to enhance the educational achievement of Indigenous students. The EA establishes a collaborative partnership between Indigenous communities and school districts that involves shared decision-making and specific goal setting to meet the educational needs of Indigenous students.
EAs highlight the importance of academic performance and more importantly, stress the integral nature of Indigenous traditional culture and languages to Indigenous student development and success. Fundamental to EAs is the requirement that school districts provide strong programs on the culture of local Indigenous peoples on whose traditional territories the districts are located.
- are intended to continually improve the quality of education achieved by all Indigenous students;
- support strong cooperative, collaborative relationships between Indigenous communities and school districts;
- provide Indigenous communities and districts greater autonomy to find solutions that work for Indigenous students, the schools and the communities; and
- require a high level of respect and trust to function.
Historically, British Columbia schools have not been successful in ensuring that Indigenous students receive a quality education, one that allows these students to succeed in the larger provincial economy while maintaining ties to their culture. Growing recognition of this problem led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in 1999:
"We the undersigned, acknowledge that Indigenous learners are not experiencing school success in British Columbia. We state our intention to work together within the mandates of our respective organizations to improve school success for Indigenous learners in British Columbia."
Memorandum signatories include:
- The Chiefs Action Committee
- The provincial Minister of Education
- The federal Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs
- The President of the BC Teachers Federation
The Memorandum of Understanding led to a framework for the creation of Enhancement Agreements. Through these agreements, new relationships and commitments were made to improve the educational success of Indigenous students.