Additional funding for Internet access program

A Canadian initiative that supplies high tech tools to students at First Nation schools received a cash influx recently.

Rick Laliberte, a member of Parliament, said a total of $6.4 million will be spent on the First Nations SchoolNet Program over the next year in an effort to bring computers, Internet access, technical support and training to Aboriginal students in remote communities.

“Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to ensuring that Aboriginal people and communities have opportunities to use information technology to improve their quality of life,” Laliberte said. “By putting information and communication technologies into First Nations classrooms, we are giving Aboriginal students the opportunity to gain the skills they will need to participate in the growing knowledge-based economy.”

The announcement was made at the Second Semi-annual First Nations SchoolNet Conference. The conference is being held in conjunction with the Pan-Canadian Northern Connectivity Conference, which focuses on northern connectivity with a particular emphasis on community access activities, challenges and issues.

The First Nations SchoolNet Program was launched in 1996 and aims to connect all First Nations schools under federal jurisdiction to the Internet. Currently, First Nations SchoolNet has connected 80 per cent of all First Nations schools across Canada.