Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) states, in a June 5 news release, Bill 25, An Act to Amend the Education Act and the Inuit Language Protection Act, is not a significant improvement over the previous territorial government's Bill 37.
Citing Article 32 of the Nunavut Agreement, the Inuit organization states it should have been a full participant in the design of Nunavut’s education program, but it only saw what's in the bill for the first time when it was tabled June 4.
“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," states president Aluki 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."
Read a Q&A with the Minister of Education here:
While NTI does acknowledge "a couple of improvements," it says the GN has not has not sufficiently engaged NTI, as representative of Inuit, and as a result proposed revision to the acts do not reflect Inuit goals and objectives.
"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 (language of instruction," states NTI.
The three initiatives are:
- Short and medium term implementation of targeted Inuit educator training programs.
- A new Department of Education Inuit Employment Plan (IEP), 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," states the organization.
Kotierk encourages 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," she stated.
The organization reiterates what it heard at the department's 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 District Education Authorities (DEAs) 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
- better inclusive education and student supports