Nunavut education authorities overwhelmed
Say staffing, resources don't match downloaded responsibilities
The organizations responsible for delivering education in Nunavut communities say they don't have enough resources to handle the responsibilities the territorial government has handed down to them.
District Education Authorities buy textbooks, run on-the-land programs and hire elders in schools.
In 2008, the new Education Act gave them new responsibilities, from running early childhood education programs to writing student behaviour policies.
"We know that the Education Act provides new responsibilities, but unfortunately that requires resources and time and money," said Francis Piugattuk, chair of the Igloolik District Education Authority.
A new report found DEAs are so overwhelmed, their office managers barely return calls even when requests are made again and again.
The report, commissioned by the Coalition of Nunavut District Education Authorities is being reviewed at the group's annual general meeting in Iqaluit. They say the Education Act increased workloads without adding more staff or funding. They want full-time office managers, not part-time staff. They also want the Department of Education to listen to their concerns.
"They should look at the communities when they start making decisions on these," said Joe Krimmerdjuar, chair of the Coalition of Nunavut District Education Authorities. "Talk to DEAs, and the office managers, the principals, these are the people that know in their communities."
At least one person is not confident that will happen soon.
Piugattuk said the Coalition of DEAs was also a creation of the Education Act, that it's still a young organization, with little power or authority.
"We're not treated as equals by the department," he said. "It's a top down approach. They look down at us."