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Prime minister announces billions to retool First Nations education

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo addresses a news conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand

The federal government has unveiled a retooled education plan for First Nations that it says recognizes aboriginal control over schooling.

Prime Minister Harper Stephen Harper announced the plan on Friday at a high school on the Blood reserve in southern Alberta.

The plan calls for minimum education standards consistent with provincial standards off-reserve.

It also says students will have to meet minimum attendance requirements and teachers will have to be properly certified.

Ottawa is to provide core funding of $1.25 billion over three years starting in 2016, with a 4.5 per cent annual increase.

Another $500 million over seven years is to go toward infrastructure and $160 million over four years is set aside for implementation.

The Assembly of First Nations calls the deal the beginning of a new era for First Nations children.