(June 5, 2019 – Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated regrets to announce that Bill 25 – An Act to Amend the Education Act and the Inuit Language Protection Act, which received first reading on June 4, is not a significant improvement over the failed Bill 37 in 2017.
Although Article 32 of the Nunavut Agreement requires that NTI be a full participant in the design of Nunavut’s education program, NTI saw the content of the Bill for the first time yesterday. President Aluki Kotierk said: “Nunavut Inuit have been clear in their expectations for the Education Act. Despite years of constructive contributions by NTI and other Nunavummiut, the Government of Nunavut appears to be offering very much the same repackaged amendments. This is not consistent with the responsibility entrusted to Ministers of the Legislative Assembly by Nunavummiut.”
NTI’s Tusaqsimajavut Report highlighted what was heard during community consultations: Nunavut Inuit want to see Inuktut as the main language of instruction in our schools (K-12) and early childhood education; more focus on teaching Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit; no reduction in DEA authorities and better support for DEAs; re-introduction of divisional school boards; improved processes between DEAs, Department of Education and Regional School Operations; an end to social promotion; and better inclusive education and student supports.
While there are a couple of modest improvements, Bill 25 would set back full implementation of Inuktut Language of Instruction (LOI), this time to 2039. Said President Kotierk: “the Government must be held accountable for the failure of Bill 25 to address NTI’s most important proposals on behalf of Nunavut Inuit in a meaningful way. On this slow a schedule, a child born today — who will be 20 years old in 2039 — will still not be able to receive Grades 9-12 instruction in Inuktut.”
For the past decade and longer, NTI has been seeking a partnership with the GN on education consistent with Article 32 of the Nunavut Agreement. Over a year ago, NTI proposed the following three joint initiatives as a path to Inuktut LOI:
• Short and medium term implementation of targeted Inuit educator training programs.
• A new Department of Education Inuit Employment Plan, with a realistic timeline for representative Inuit employment in schools and the Department of Education.
• New timelines for Inuktut LOI, based on the IEP timeline for Inuit educator employment.
NTI continues to call on the GN Cabinet and Members to show leadership, transparency and commitment to working with NTI on this three-pronged solution to Nunavut’s education and language crisis.
Speaking to the importance of public feedback, Kotierk added, “I encourage Nunavut Inuit to speak up. Nunavut was created by and for Inuit and now is the time to contact your Member of the Legislative Assembly for the future of Nunavut’s education program.”
The Government of Nunavut was created through Article 4 of the Constitutionally-protected Nunavut Agreement. Article 32 requires that the GN reflect Inuit goals and objectives in the development, design and delivery of the education program in Nunavut. The GN has not sufficiently engaged NTI, as representative of Inuit, in the development of the amendments to the Education Act, with the result that Bill 25 still does not reflect Inuit goals and objectives.
For further information:
Franco Buscemi, Interim Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Qajaaq Ellsworth, Senior Communications Advisor
Office of President Aluki Kotierk
INUKTUT – https://www.tunngavik.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2019/05/Tusaqsimajavut-Inuktut.pdf
ENGLISH – https://www.tunngavik.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/1/files/2019/05/Tusaqsimajavut-English.pdf