Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sorry for the long lapse in posting, folks! I have been crazy busy with different projects.
The recent issue that has caught my attention is a recent paper released by the newly-formed Macdonald-Laurier Institute that calls for First Nation post-secondary educational monies to bypass band councils and go directly to pay for First Nation students through individual savings account that start at birth.
Here's the link:
I think this is an excellent idea worthy of exploration and I heartily endorsed the author's paper.
In my days in Aboriginal media, I heard stories from many sincere First Nations who were tired of the politicization that goes on with allocating post-secondary funding on reserves.
I think this is a good idea because the money goes directly to the institution to pay for tuition and pays for living expenses. It completely avoids the issue of band interference. It also provides the funding for First Nations and provides an incentive to finish high school as each year adds to the savings account.
Predictably, the AFN is not happy. Well, when are they ever really? I mean, I thought Shawn Atleo would set a different tone, but it seems, at least in their communications department, there is still the kneejerk defensive, "Dr. No" perspective on any innovative thinking. Honestly, would they be happy if Ottawa proposed to divert money away from their main clients (band chiefs) and give money directly to individuals? Didn't think so. That would represent too much loss of control over the status quo for them. Who really cares about students, in their view.
Over the next few weeks, the federal government will release their re-design of the Aboriginal post-secondary educational assistance system. I hope some of the good logic of this proposal ends up in the final reform package.