News+Politics March 7, 2012
Mary Simon On Inuit Education

Mary Simon says that Inuit people have had a complex relationship with southern education. With a dropout rate of 75%, Inuit kids are leaving school as early as 8th grade.

She'll be in the red chair tonight, along with actor Taylor Kitsch.

Mary Simon: The problem becomes even more urgent because Canada is looking to develop the north and take advantage of its vast resources.

If Inuit graduation rates don't improve, there's a fear they won't be able to participate in the north's future: "The education came from the south. And then the children were sent to residential schools and some of them never returned home so education wasn't always seen as a good thing amongst our people - the academic side of education because we taught our own children in our culture the way we teach our young which is based on an oral history. And we depend very much on the elders because of that so the system that is there now has never been embraced by the people, by the parents. I'm in the process of working with a committee at the national level to revitalize the education system so that people take ownership of the system that is there for them to educate their children because if we can't educate our young, all that development that's going to go on around us is going to bypass us."



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