November 22nd, 2012

Education cutbacks in Manawan amplify existing problems

Elementary school in disrepair and high school drop-out rate at almost 50%

Having witnessed in the field the appalling condition of the elementary school in the community of Manawan, two New Democrat MPs are urging the Conservative government to cancel the $430,000 cut to education for First Nations children.

“This community needs a new school, not reckless cuts. The high school drop-out rate is at almost 50%. Students lack the necessary learning materials and schools are in unsafe conditions,” said Official Opposition Aboriginal Affairs Deputy Critic, Jonathan Genest-Jourdain (Manicouagan).

Since the Conservatives came to power, Aboriginals have seen their access to basic services like education deteriorate. Last winter, the NDP introduced a motion to recognize the right of First Nations students to quality education, like all Canadians, and calling on the government to provide them with adequate funding. The motion was supported unanimously, but the Conservatives are dragging their feet.

“Enough is enough. These people deserve the same services and rights as all Canadians. In the past, we sent Aboriginal children to residential schools. Now we’re forcing them to attend unsafe schools. How can we talk about progress here?,” added Francine Raynault (Joliette).