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Vote down Education Act changes, Nunavut Tunngavik tells MLAs

Nunavut's land claims organization is calling on the legislative assembly to reject controversial changes to the territory's education act, saying the amendments violate Inuit rights to control their own education system.

Nunavut's education system 'in crisis,' says NTI

Nakasuk elementary school in Iqaluit. In a resolution passed at its annual general meeting, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. said proposed changes to the Education Act will further reduce local control of education and concentrate authority with the Department of Education. (Sima Sahar Zerehi/CBC)

Nunavut's land claims organization is calling on the legislative assembly to reject controversial changes to the territory's education act, saying the amendments violate Inuit rights to control their own education system.

In a formal resolution passed at its annual general meeting this week, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. said the proposed changes will further reduce local control of education and concentrate authority with the Department of Education.

This comes after a government review of the 2008 Education Act led to recommendations for dramatic changes, including shifting the emphasis from Inuit language and culture to a standardized education system.  

There were public consultations on the proposed changes over the summer that included NTI.

The powerfully-worded resolution described what it called a "crisis in education" in Nunavut, where more than 70 per cent of Inuit students do not complete high school.  

NTI resolution gives education system a failing grade

NTI cited the Nunavut government's failure to hire Inuktitut-speaking teachers and develop curricula in the Inuit languages, fuelling "an unacceptable gap" in the quality of education between Nunavut and southern Canada and violating the constitutionally protected Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

NTI says, 17 years after the creation of Nunavut, education in the territory is still mostly 'non-Inuit,' with a critical lack of Inuit languages and cultural knowledge in schools. (CBC)

NTI said, 17 years after the creation of Nunavut, education in the territory is still mostly "non-Inuit," with a critical lack of Inuit languages and cultural knowledge in schools.

It pointed to the government's failure to increase Inuit educators to 85 per cent in Nunavut schools, as set out in the 1993 land claim.

NTI called for major new funding commitments for hiring and training Inuit teachers, as well as more training and support for Inuit-elected District Education Authorities.

The resolution also calls for an end to "social passing," the practice of moving students ahead when they have not met grade requirements.  

The minister of education will table proposed amendments for MLAs to review in the winter 2017 session.

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