The First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) was founded in 1992 by participants at a provincial First Nations education conference at the Vancouver Friendship Centre. That visionary group of people determined the need for a First Nations-controlled collective organization focused on advancing quality education for all First Nations learners, and they set out FNESC’s commitment to supporting First Nations in their efforts to improve the success of all First Nations students in BC.

FNESC works at the provincial level to provide services in the areas of research, communications, information dissemination, advocacy, program administration and networking.

FNESC also strives to share current information about available programs, government policies and initiatives and education issues that impact First Nations learners.  In addition, FNESC strives to build partnerships with federal and provincial agencies and other relevant stakeholders in order to communicate the issues and concerns of BC First Nations and ensure that they are meaningfully addressed.

Our mandate is “to facilitate discussion about education matters affecting First Nations in BC by disseminating information and soliciting input from First Nations.  The primary goal is to promote and support the provision of quality education to First Nations learners in BC.” FNESC, the First Nations Schools Association, and the Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association operate from the same West Vancouver office and take a collaborative approach to many initiatives.

Comments and suggestions about the activities facilitated by FNESC are always welcome.

Read our annual report



  • Provided a united voice on First Nations education in BC, as directed by First Nations leadership
  • Negotiated the Tripartite Education Framework Agreement (2012) and BC Tripartite Education Agreement providing a new funding model for First Nations school funding and core second-level services to support First Nations learners
  • Concluded Bilateral Protocols with the BC Ministry of Education (2015) and BC Ministry of Advanced Education (2016)
  • Achieved legal recognition of our authority to be decision-makers in the education of our children, protected in federal legislation (2006) and provincial legislation (2007).  Learn more about education jurisdiction efforts.
  • Signed a Cooperation and Collaboration Protocol on February 3, 2021 with BC’s Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender.  The purpose of the Protocol is to establish a cooperative and effective working relationship that includes joint dialogue and action on issues and initiatives that promote and support First Nations education in the context of inherent Aboriginal rights and Indigenous human rights, uphold the dignity of Indigenous peoples, and address the root causes of discrimination experienced by Indigenous peoples in BC.
  • Created innovative curriculum, including English First Peoples 10, 11 and 12, which is now being used in classrooms across BC
  • Co-founded the BC Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Partners Group, uniting stakeholders to improve levels of participation and success of Aboriginal learners in post-secondary education and training in BC (2005)
  • Co-founded the K-12 Aboriginal Education Partners Group, bringing together Kindergarten to Grade 12 education stakeholders to improve the success of Aboriginal students in BC (1999)
  • FNESC works cooperatively with the First Nations Schools Association (FNSA) and Indigenous Adult and Higher Learning Association (IAHLA), and shares office space, staff, and financial and communications infrastructure with those bodies.
  • FNESC, FNSA and IAHLA have established important formal relationships with the following organizations, among many others: First Peoples’ Cultural Council (formerly First Peoples Heritage, Language and Culture Council); First Nations Health Authority (formerly the First Nations Health Society); Association of BC Deans of Education; Representative for Children and Youth; First Nations Technology Council; BC K-12 Aboriginal Education Partners Group; and BC Aboriginal Post-Secondary Education and Training Partners.