First Nations, Métis and Inuit leaders are joining the government on a council to guide aboriginal education in Alberta.

Education Minister Dave Hancock says aboriginal youth are integral members of society and are critical to the province’s future.

He says that’s why it’s important they have access to all educational opportunities available to other Albertans.

Hancock will be joined on the council by the ministers of aboriginal relations and advanced education, as well as by several grand chiefs and Métis leaders.

The council has invited eight community representatives to participate.

A federal summit on aboriginal education last February concluded that some improvements have been made, but there is still a significant achievement gap between aboriginal and non-aboriginal students.

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