Media Centre

Bill 21, the Education Act, Needs Serious Improvement

NR 07-23 ACT ENG Education Act Flawed.doc

(November 7, 2007 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Bill 21, the Education Act, received second reading in the Legislative Assembly today. This concludes the two-year working relationship between Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Government of Nunavut as co-chairs and participants in the Education Act Steering Committee process.

Education Act Steering Committee members were able to come to a consensus agreement on many of the issues in the Education Act. However, there were unresolved issues surrounding the need to replace the abolished regional education boards, and the amount of Inuktitut or Inuinnaqtun that should be taught in the education system.

It is unfortunate that the Education Act was tabled before the conflict resolution process was able to conclude on these two issues, said NTI President Paul Kaludjak. It is also unfortunate that NTI did not have adequate time to review the final draft and contribute to its constructive criticism, and the RIAs were not able to see the draft bill prior to the first tabling of the Education Act.

The GN has a legal obligation under Article 32 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement to consult meaningfully with NTI on any policy matters affecting Inuit at the social and cultural level.

In addition, NTI has grave concerns about Bill 21 because it merely restates the principals of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit as opposed to providing the resources to implement IQ as the foundation of the education system. The Bill does not adequately empower the District Education Authorities to assume authority and it does not provide the necessary training to enable DEAs to build capacity.

Bill 21 needs significant improvement in several critical areas. I hope that the Ajauqtiit Standing Committee will take this into consideration prior to the third and final reading of the Bill said Paul Kaludjak.

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