Prince Edward Island’s Education, Early Learning and Culture Minister Doug Currie chaired the annual meeting of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) with provincial and territorial ministers of education this week in Toronto.
“Through these meetings, education ministers from across Canada share successes and collaborate on priorities, such as equipping students to succeed in an ever-changing economy,” said Minister Currie. “A student’s ability to transition from secondary school to post-secondary education and the labour market is a key measure of the education system’s success for students.”
Learning is a process involving several transitions. It begins within the family, and continues through early childhood education, elementary and secondary school, postsecondary education, and adult learning. Ministers emphasized the transition of students from secondary school to postsecondary education and into the workforce. Ministers discussed the development of a pan-Canadian student transitions reference framework which will take into account the approaches adopted by the provinces and territories, and tasked their officials with providing a draft document by July 2017.
The ministers’ discussions focused on six global competencies and their real-world application in the classroom: critical thinking and problem solving; innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship; learning to learn/self-awareness and self-direction; collaboration; communication; and global citizenship and sustainability.
Ministers noted that CMEC would benefit from continued dialogue with other organizations, such as OECD and UNESCO, in order to develop a common understanding of global competencies and how to assess their acquisition. CMEC will be participating in OECD’s 2018 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which will introduce a global competencies component.
The sustainability of education systems is a concern of all provinces and territories as they plan for a future in which education will be more important than ever in ensuring the social and economic development of Canadians. It was agreed that CMEC postsecondary education officials would continue pan-Canadian discussion and research on strategies for maintaining and enhancing provinces’ and territories’ robust postsecondary systems.
Indigenous education continues to be a high priority for CMEC. Ministers underscored once more the importance of making the history and legacy of Indian Residential Schools better known, as indicated in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and building a brighter education future for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit peoples.
Prince Edward Island is making good progress in infusing indigenous perspectives and training into new curricula, including a new Grade 9 social studies course and a new French-language Grade 10 history course, both of which integrate the impact of Indian Residential Schools into the courses’ Human Rights unit. Grade 9 teachers are receiving professional development specifically related to this unit.
“While Indigenous education must be responsive to local needs and realities, there is much that we can learn from each other,” added Minister Currie. “Dialogue and exchange at the pan-Canadian level can contribute positively to the work each province and territory is doing in cooperation with local and regional Indigenous organizations and with Indigenous learners themselves.”
The next meeting of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) will be held in Prince Edward Island in the summer of 2017.
The communiqué from this year’s the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) is available at http://www.cmec.ca/15/Press-Releases/
Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada’s ministers of education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the exercise of the exclusive jurisdiction of provinces and territories over education. For more information, visit us at www.cmec.ca.