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Opportunities North: Nunavut’s 286 high school grads in 2023 nearly equal record

Opportunities North: Nunavut’s 286 high school grads in 2023 falls just short of record
Students at Iglulik’s Sivuniit Middle School enjoy a dog-sledding trip as part of cultural programming. Photo courtesy of the Government of Nunavut Department of Education

There are 286 high school graduates in Nunavut this year, an improvement over 262 grads in 2022 but one shy of the record 287 graduates in 2021.

The graduation rate came in at 38.4 per cent last year, below the 43.6 per cent recorded a year earlier.

There were 130 students who earned diplomas in the Qikiqtani region in 2022, 109 in the Kivalliq region, 18 from the Kitikmeot and five grads emerged from the Pathway to Adult Secondary School Program.

Enrolment for the 2022-23 school year, as of Sept. 30, added up to 10,629 territory-wide. That’s down slightly from 10,769 students in 2021-22.

There were 5,134 pupils in the Qikiqtani region, 3,364 in the Kivalliq and 2,048 in the Kitikmeot. Ecole des Trois-Soleils, the kindergarten to Grade 9 French school in Iqaluit, had 84 students registered.

Nunavut doesn’t have junior kindergarten or pre-kindergarten as part of its school programming. There are preschools and Aboriginal Head Start Programs, but they are run independently of the territorial government. As of 2021-22, there were 250 such spaces available across Nunavut.

$273.5 departmental budget

The Department of Education has an operations and maintenance budget of $273.5 million in 2023-24, up from $252.3 million in 2022-23.

The education budget represents 13.5 per cent of GN’s overall operations and maintenance (O&M) spending this fiscal year, and that’s separate from Nunavut Arctic College, which accounts for two per cent of yearly government O&M spending on its own.

The amount of money allocated to the Department of Education trails only the Department of Health ($469.6 million, or 23.2 per cent) and Community and Government Services ($293.8 million, 14.5 per cent).

The Government of Nunavut anticipates putting $197.8 million toward compensation and benefits for education department staff in 2023-24, up from $184.5 million the previous year.

Early learning and child care will get $4.3 million from the territorial government in 2023-24.

When it comes to capital estimates, the Department of Education ranks third among departments again, at $47.7 million, or 14.1 per cent of the GN’s planned capital spending in 2023-24. That’s down from last year when $50 million was put into capital projects for education.

Among the major projects moving through the queue are a new high school in Taloyoak, major renovation and addition at Sakku School in Coral Harbour, major renovations in Arctic Bay and an addition to Ecole des Trois-Soleils in Iqaluit.

Court updates in language battle

A dispute between land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) and the Government of Nunavut over the provision of Inuktitut education from K-12, which became a legal battle in 2021, was seemingly moved forward in early March when a Nunavut judge overruled the GN’s attempt to have the case thrown out. The territorial government subsequently filed an appeal in April.

NTI is seeking to force the GN to offer Inuktitut instruction for all grade levels within five years. The GN’s existing plan could take until 2039 to be fully implemented.

Fact file

Nunavut student enrolment 2022-23 (as of Sept. 30)

Qikiqtani: 5,134

Kivalliq: 3,364

Kitikmeot: 2,048

Total: 10,629

Source: Government of Nunavut

For more stories from Opportunities North 2023, click this link:

Ecole des Trois-Soleils in Iqaluit, Nunavut’s only Francophone school, had an enrollment of 84 students, according to the territorial government. NNSL file photo

About the Author: Derek Neary

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