Sunday, April 09, 2006

Nunavut's Schools

News story About Nunavut's Schools. click on this link for the story
This article has just been released and is discussing the educational systems failing in regards to the Inuit. Its a very dificult thing for a outsider to discuss due to the cultural differences. However lets endeavor to cover a couple of the obsiticals here.
First, life isn't the same here as down souh, the history is different, the people are different and life is different. Very few of the adult population have recieved formal education inside a school's and those that have were forced to participate in English RC only schools. Those who were formally educated are no different than those who weren't, meaning looking around town you'll find formally educated success's and failures at the same rate as "Non-educated".
Schools don't treat truancy as that big of a deal here. From what I've heard from locals it is very important for children to attend the first day of school, school officials will follow up through the summer with locals attempting to ensure every child will attend the first week of school. The schools recieve funding based on beginning of year attendence, I wonder if it would help if they recieved funding based on end of year attendance?
Children are needed here to assist with some daily functions. Brothers and sisters act as babysitters, they assist with shopping, etc. Some of the absences are at the parents need, So the parents need to be convinced of the importance of education. At the store children are not allowed in the store during school hours, however when questioned the answer is invariably, I'm on a spare.
Last year, this town graduated 2 people from grade 12. This is a large community by northern standards, so by logic I would say Nunavut would have been lucky to graduate 100 grade 12 grads last year. Some of these individuals go on to persue further education, some need time away from school, but I don't think alot of them jump up and say, now I can work for the government, at least I hope they don't.
What is the northern answer? When people look out thier door they don't see a difference between the educated and the un-educated's house's, and even if they do notice difference, the more common answer is "that person has been blessed by God", which is the result of previous education attempts. I honestly believe you need to see local successes in order to gain local inspiration. Unfortunately when the system doesn't fail and we graduate a post secondary eductaed Inuit, they are over-qualified for most northern positions, there aren't alot of places they can work in their own community. At the Northwest company we are Canada's largest private aboriginal employer, but we struggle to get local populations into local management, and we've been in some of these communities for 300 years. I don't think the teachers are at fault, there is only so much they can do, Any Ideas????
Take care


Anonymous said...

This one I don't have much to say about. I saw the article. My feeling at the time was "they have quite a mountain to climb" I still have that feeling. If you don't see a reward at the end, why would you bother? School isn't easy. If education isn't valued by their parents and at this point, why would it be, than why would a kid bother to do the work. Having billingual schools would help to preserve their heritage and may be valued from that point of view. I see this one taking time, outlooks changing with the generations.
We still have some snow on the ground up north..our north. Doesn't compare I know but it sure was colder than I expected.
Take care,

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to wish you all a very Happy EAster and hope the weather soon changes for you.

I am in a bit of rush as I am off to work in a moment, but will come back and leave my comments on the education issue.

Take care -- Rosalie