Media Centre

NTI Board of Directors Concerned with New Education Bill

NR 05-43 EDI ENG Education Bill.doc

(November 24, 2005 — Iqaluit, Nunavut) Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s Board of Directors passed a resolution during their recent board meeting in Cambridge Bay expressing deep concern with the Government of Nunavut’s proposed Education Bill.

The Department of Education is promoting a draft Education Bill they plan to table in the Nunavut Legislative Assembly in the spring of 2006. The NTI Board of Directors is concerned because this Bill is almost exactly the same as the Education Bill the first Legislative Assembly refused to support two years ago, said NTI President Paul Kaludjak.

Inuit were hopeful the second attempt would be more respectful of Inuit language and culture. But it seems that the legislation before us will do nothing to strengthen our right to be educated in Inuktitut, it will do nothing to promote Inuit cultural instruction, and it will do nothing to increase the number of Inuit teachers who work in our schools, said Kaludjak.

Passed unanimously by NTI’s Board of Directors, the resolution states that while it is widely accepted that Inuit students in an Inuit education system have a better chance of succeeding if the system is based upon Inuit language and culture, the proposed Education Bill is still based upon western values and culture.

During our Board meeting and our Annual General Meeting, we heard time and time again that something must be done to reduce the 75 per cent drop out rate of Nunavut students. This is the highest drop out rate in Canada, and it means the education system imposed upon Inuit is failing our students and families, said Kaludjak. At the end of the day, this means we are prevented from achieving the objectives of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, he said.

The resolution also directed Kaludjak to ensure the GN’s consultations on the Education Bill result in the development of a more appropriate kind of education system Inuit want for their children. To date, Inuit concerns brought forward through public consultations have not resulted in any significant changes to the Education Bill.

Consultations are scheduled to conclude next week.

The Board of Directors told me to strongly encourage Education Minister Ed Picco to develop and table an Education Bill that reflects the wishes of Inuit in Nunavut and the Legislative Assembly. I will do everything in my authority to ensure that happens this time around, said Kaludjak.

For further information:

Kerry McCluskey
Director of Communications
Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Tel: (867) 975-4914
Cell: (867) 975-1337