The province is launching an equity assessment of individual program plans (IPPs) to identify and remove systemic barriers in education that affect students of African and Indigenous descent.
IPPs are developed when a student may not be able to meet the outcomes in the provincial school curriculum. A 2016 review found that African Nova Scotians, other students of African descent and Mi’kmaw and other Indigenous students are disproportionately placed on IPPs. Disparities in the process can create barriers to a student’s success and affect their well-being and sense of belonging.
“We know that inequities and systemic racism still create barriers in education for African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaw students,” said Premier Iain Rankin. “Addressing these barriers and making sure all students have equitable opportunities is important to the social fabric and economic future of our province.”
Current and former students, parents and guardians, and community members will be able to share their input and experiences through surveys, interviews and focus groups beginning in July. The assessment team will welcome input from teachers and school staff in the fall.
A final report is expected in the winter of 2021-22.
Parents, guardians, community leaders and students themselves have so much to tell us about how the education system can better support African Nova Scotians and others of African descent, Mi’kmaw and other Indigenous students. I encourage people to give their feedback throughout this process.
Tony Ince, Minister responsible for the Office of Equity and Anti-Racism Initiatives and Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs
We want an education system that allows all students to reach their full potential, and by identifying and removing systemic barriers we will enable students to thrive. This assessment will raise the voices of children and families. We need to listen and act. I look forward to the input of students, staff and families who are a part of the IPP process, and I look forward to clear guidance so that we can eliminate systemic barriers.
Derek Mombourquette, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development
We have learned from lived experiences and validated via research that having high expectations for student academic and social well-being are influencers on their success. This is best achieved by students, teachers and families working together from a strengths-based approach, building from the student’s knowledge and involving them fully in their learning experiences. We must examine IPPs because, when not done as a fully collaborative response, they can derail the home-school relationship and run the risk of impeding student success now and in the future.
Sylvia Parris-Drummond, CEO, Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute
The Native Council of Nova Scotia supports the evaluation of IPPs with respect to the inequities of Mi'kmaw and Indigenous students in the public education system. It's paramount to identify and remove the barriers which impact the success of students.
April Hiltz, Education Director, Native Council of Nova Scotia
- IPPs are developed with a student’s program planning team, which can include parents and guardians; teachers and other school staff, including resource teachers; the school principal or vice-principal; and others, depending on the student’s needs
- the 2016 Individual Program Plan (IPP) Review found that African Nova Scotian students were 1.5 times more likely to have an IPP in at least one subject or programming area than non-African Nova Scotian students
- the review found that Indigenous students were 1.4 times more likely to have an IPP than non-Indigenous students
The 2016 IPP review is available here: https://www.ednet.ns.ca/docs/individualprogramplanreview.pdf
The policy guiding IPPs is available here: http://www.studentservices.ednet.ns.ca/sites/default/files/speceng.pdf