Congratulations to all of the graduates of 2020! It has been nothing short of an arduous journey for a lot of students to get through their final year of high school in such trying circumstances. No one expected Covid-19 to rock the world as hard as it did and few felt it is badly in Nunavut as students. Whether trying to complete courses through online courses where internet connectivity is not always reliable or even with mail-in student packages, the past few months have put the convictions of students to the test and many have prevailed.
The success of students does not only hinge on their work ethic alone, but also policy makers and elected leaders in charge of education.
It is of the utmost importance that Education Minister David Joanasie and his department come through with a clear and concise plan for the reopening of schools and ensuring students are getting the highest quality of education possible despite the circumstances.
So far, though, that plan seems to be absent for the offices of District Education Authorities (DEA). The chair of the Iqaluit DEA, Doug Workman, has gone as far as writing a public letter to Joanasie, citing “dire concerns.”
“Your department seems to think that both the educators and the district education authorities do not need information regarding the department’s plans for reopening of the schools,” Workman wrote.
So far there is only a vague understanding that things will open “as normal.”
Input from the Iqaluit DEA on reopening plans was given roughly six weeks ago with no response from the Joanasie’s department.
Already well into July, this lack of response is unfortunate and looks like the GN is unprepared when it comes to getting students back in class. If there is a plan in the works, if more input is needed or if a bit more time is needed, then just say so. The silence itself is speaking volumes for the state of the department’s communication strategy.
A plan has been set out in the Northwest Territories as well as the Yukon. The challenges faced by Nunavut are far different than in its sister territories, but communication with parents, students and teachers has already begun.
The success of students today means a brighter future for all in the North, and that requires input from all of us at the best of times but even more so in the midst of a pandemic.