School $

Are First Nations Schools Well Funded?

 

Awareness-building Campaign on First Nations Education

The common expression to dismiss unfair comparisons is that one cannot compare apples with oranges. It is almost impossible to find a perfect comparison between the reality of First Nations schools to that of provincial schools. However, as there are schools whose conditions are more similar than others to First Nations schools, we can at least try to establish a comparison between these.

The following table gives examples of provincial or territorial groups of schools that receive additional funding to take account of a factor or a combination of factors that create supplementary operating costs, such as the level of remoteness, size, a minority language, disadvantaged socioeconomic conditions, geographical scattering of schools, etc.

See board

In comparison, according to a study carried out by the FNEC in 2005, the community of Manawan received an average amount of $8,056 per student for the 2002-2003 school year for its two schools. The two schools in this community are, however, among the vast majority of First Nations schools that present a combination of factors, which lead to more significant additional costs than those of provincial or territorial schools. These include:

  • Remoteness factor: the community is linked to the village of Saint-Michel-des-Saints by a 54km long gravel road. It is 120km from La Tuque and 184km from Joliette, which makes access to resources and specialized educational services more costly. The remoteness factor in the funding formula does not take these costs into consideration.
  • Underprivileged socioeconomic conditions: for example, the parents’ level of scolarity, the level of unemployment, income, housing conditions, etc., which the funding formula does not consider.
  • The school has to consider both official languages, French and English, which are both second languages as far as the community is concerned because (80% of adults speak Atikamekw).