Schools Training

What Can be Done to Save Education in Nunavut?

17 DEC 2014
Career Path : Education News

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StatsCanada recently released a development report on the educational levels of Canada’s ten provinces and three territories. It was not a shock to find that the two most remote areas of the country –  the Northwest Territories and Nunavut – both fell far below Canada’s average. Canada is ranked second overall in OECD countries for the number of people with high school education, at 90% of the population. Nunavut fell far below OECD standards, with only 57% of citizens holding a high school diploma. Furthermore, only 31% of people in Nunavut have some form of post-secondary education.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government under Stephen Harper has implemented a Northern economic plan called CanNOR (Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency). There has been talk of building mines and creating upwards of 12,000 jobs. There has even been talk of building a university in Iqaluit. However, despite this economic growth, critics say there has been a lack of cultural and social development.

At the moment, Iqaluit, Nunavut’s capital, is suffering from a lack of school attendance. In many cases, only 50% of children show up for school. Another issue is the lack of education resources. Many teachers working in Iqaluit are elderly and have come out of retirement to work in Iqaluit schools.

The 2008 Education Act outlined how K-12 education would be carried out in Nunavut. The Act stated that children must receive:

  • Bilingual education
  • Thorough learning of Inuit culture
  • Support to help stay in school and succeed in their education.

So far, the Act has proven to be difficult to implement. This is due to insufficient bilingual educators and a lack of inclusive education training. School attendance has also had a large impact on issues with implementing the act.

In an effort to curb the high suicide rates in Nunavut, a plan has been set in motion to use video technology to provide lessons to remote communities. The company, Cicsco Canada, has provided 10 hi tech video equipment units to different Nunavut communities, in the plan to provide mental health services to youth. The video technology will also be used to provide virtual lessons, connecting Nunavut students with cities and communities down South.

Source: Nunatsiaq Online