Inuit in communities should be encouraged and supported to teach in schools, Kugluktuk MLA Mila Adjukak Kamingoak said March 5.
"The minister (of Education) has indicated that his department will be implementing a new educator recruitment strategy to address teacher shortages and to support Inuit employment targets. Can the minister clarify whether his recruitment strategy includes employing Inuit from our communities who may not be certified teachers, but who are perfectly capable of teaching in our schools," asked Kamingoak.
Education Minister David Joanasie replied in the affirmative, saying targeting Inuit for hiring as substitute teachers has potential.
"In addition to that, we want to increase the number of opportunities that our current language specialists, specifically, and Inuit teachers and/or employees have in potentially laddering into obtaining professional qualifications to become fully qualified," he said.
Joanasie also indicated the department wants to hire more bilingual teachers, but pointed out that not everyone who speaks the Inuit language can necessarily teach.
"It’s a specialized skill to be able to teach in the language," he said.
"With that, we do want to hire as many bilingual teachers as possible. Again, it gives me an opportunity to throw out that invitation to Nunavummiut to contact our department on how you can go on that path to become a teacher. We want to also recruit right from high school to get them prepared and trained to become teachers if they so choose."
Kamingoak suggested that Joanasie should make more use of letters of authority. This tool, she noted, enables the GN to hire individuals into positions even though they do not hold the formal certification usually required for the job.
"Will the minister commit to consider using more letter(s) of authority authorizations to hire more Inuit from our communities to increase the number of bilingual educators in our schools," she asked.
"Right now we are in preliminary discussions on looking at training another cohort of language specialists. They have skills to teach in the Inuit language. We want to partner with other organizations to develop more language specialists," answered Joanasie.