In 1991, the Black Learners Advisory Committee (BLAC) was commissioned to conduct a comprehensive study of the major issues that persist in the educational environment for African Nova Scotian learners. In 1994, BLAC produced a landmark report entitled “The BLAC Report: Redressing Inequity-Empowering Black Learners”. This study included 46 recommendations that take a holistic approach to the problems and concerns of African Nova Scotian learners and the broader communities.
BLAC Report Recommendation #3 –
Establish an Afrocentric Learning Institute to assist in curriculum development and conduct ongoing research on issues impacting on Black Learners in Nova Scotia, act as a clearinghouse for information on strategies for education of black learners, hold conferences and provide province-wide professional development.
In June of 1995, the Minister of Education and Culture accepted all 46 recommendations in the Response to the Black Learners Advisory Committee Report on Education. The Response stated, “The Department accepts this recommendation and will create an Afrocentric learning Institute”. Alternatives for placement including the desirability of locating the Institute in conjunction with a university will be explored with the Council on African Canadian Education (CACE). The Nova Scotia Council of Higher Education will work with CACE to develop a specific proposal and funding options for such an institute by January 1996.
In October of 1995, one of the founding members and central organizers of the Black Learners Advisory Committee, Mr. Delmore “Buddy” Daye, died. After conducting extensive community consultation session across the province, the first Council on African Canadian Education requested that the Afrocentric Learning Institute be named in Mr. Daye’s honour. This recommendation was accepted by the government of the day and the Institute henceforth become known as the Delmore Buddy Daye Afrocentric Learning Institute (DBDALI). In September of 1999 a proposal was submitted to the Minister of Education to move forward with the development of the DBDALI.
The Council on African Canadian Education (CACE) and the Nova Scotia Department of Education continued to move forward the development of the Institute. A temporary office for the institute was established at “the Meadows” at Mount Saint Vincent University for a period of two years (2000-02) and pilot programs have been run over the last 12 years.
In 2009, Dr. Enid Lee and Clem Marshall were commissioned to review 8 of the 46 recommendations of the BLAC Report on Education. Dr. Lee and Mr. Marshall did extensive community consultation across the province and produced an additional 68 recommendations regarding further implementation of the BLAC recommendations. Two of these recommendations addressed the establishment of an Africentric learning institute as an independent body and CACE returning to its primary role of consulting the Minister of Education on issues pertaining to African Canadian/Nova Scotian learners.
In February of 2012, there was a public call for candidates to submit applications for the inaugural board of the Delmore Buddy Daye Africentric Learning Institute. A selection committee consisting of the Chairperson of CACE, the President of the Black Educators Association, the Director of African Canadian Services Division and the Chief Executive Office of African Nova Scotian Affairs selected the first ten members of the board. These members were presented to the public on May 4, 2012. The first board of the Delmore Buddy Daye Africentric Learning Institute officially assumed office on September 2, 2012.