The Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute (DBDLI) held its first colloquium gathering on Friday, November 23rd, 2018 at the community space of the DBDLI. Entitled “Colloquium on Student Attendance and Engagement Policy”, attracted 40 attendees including university professors, students, parents, principals, school support workers and delegates from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Education school, and the Tri-County Regional Centre of Education.

The major issues discussed at the colloquium included schooling as a community and the impact of the current “Attendance and Engagement Policy” on students of African Ancestry.  These are issues that Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute (DBDLI) in collaboration with Dalhousie University and Tri-County Regional Centre for Education (TCRCE) are addressing in a research funded by the Inter-University Research Network (IURN).

The keynote speaker of the colloquium was Professor George Sefa Dei, from the University of Toronto. Professor Dei is a renowned educator, researcher, writer, community advocate and has over dozen scholarly books on: anti-racism, Indigenous knowledge and anti-colonial thought, political ecology, ethnography, and minority schooling.

In his presentation, Professor Dei emphasized the need to remember and understand how slavery and colonization have impacted and destroyed African traditional principles such as communal custodianship embodied in the proverb ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ that often was the source of major educational support. He argued that engaging Black Elders in paid positions in our education system can help build this village and restore this support.  Professor Dei is collaborating with the DBDLI in a SSHRC funded research that will help us address this issue and others that may emerge.  Data collection for this project will begin in 2019 and Professor Dei will return to Halifax for the data collection.

Other important components of the colloquium were the presentation by a Regional Centre of Education and a focus group discussion on attendance and engagement policy.

The email message from an attendee demonstrates the success of the colloquium: “Thank you for inviting me to participate in today’s colloquium on the Student Attendance and Engagement Policy. Dr. Dei’s presentation was very powerful and thought-provoking; the presentation by the [Regional Centre of Education] was very compelling; and I believe that the group discussion on the Provincial Attendance and Engagement Policy will inform and ground the research.”

For more information on the colloquium and the research on attendance and engagement, please contact: