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Government lied about leaked education report, says Nunavut Teachers' Association

The president of the Nunavut Teachers' Association says his organization was lied to when it comes to a leaked report on the Nunavut Teacher Education Program. He says they were told several times work on the report was still ongoing.

Report, completed in October 2017, focused on Nunavut Teacher Education Program

The president of the Nunavut Teachers' Assocation is responding to a leaked report completed in 2017, which marked systemic issues that led to an inability of the Nunavut Teacher Education Program to produce enough bilingual teachers for the territory. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)

The president of the Nunavut Teachers' Association says his organization was lied to when it comes to a leaked report on the Nunavut Teacher Education Program (NTEP), saying they were told several times work on the report was still ongoing.

John Fanjoy says he was "quite surprised" to see the report, which was first published Tuesday by Nunavut News. The report outlines significant issues with the structure of NTEP, saying that in its current state, it is unable to meet the bilingual education needs of the territory.

"We've been asking the Department of Education for results from their intel review consistently since November of 2017," said Fanjoy. "And the response ... has been that the NTEP review is still ongoing, and it hasn't been completed.

"And now we're finding out that it's been completed since October of 2017. And they secretly shelved it, and did not share any of the results with us or other stakeholders."

Fanjoy said the lack of disclosure regarding the completed report is "dishonest" and it points to a bigger issue within the territorial government, specifically the Department of Education. 

"It points to the issue of not actively engaging stakeholders in the education system in Nunavut," he said. "And it also points to an issue about, 'Is senior bureaucratic leadership in the Department of Education actively engaging with Nunavummiut on what they want for the education of their children?'"

John Fanjoy, centre, sits with Nunavut Education Minister David Joanasie, left, and Nunavut Finance Minister David Akeeagok, right, in 2018. Fanjoy says the government lied to the Nunavut Teachers' Association by not disclosing the fact the leaked report had been completed. (Submitted by Nunavut Teachers' Association)

In regards to the report itself, which suggested changes be made to NTEP to ensure the participation of more Inuit, such as loosening high school grade requirements and using language proficiency as a factor for prospective entrants, Fanjoy said it "makes a lot of great points."

"We believe that there has to be a serious reformation in the NTEP program. We agree with a lot of the recommendations in the report ... that the program is more grounded in Inuit languages and culture, that the entrance requirements also recognize language competency as opposed to only high school academic marks."

Fanjoy also noted that despite the report pointing out the shortcomings of the program, it has produced several highly-regarded teachers working in Nunavut schools, and that it should not reflect badly on them.

"These are systemic failings of the Department of Education and the Government of Nunavut," he said. "These are not failings that should be placed on the shoulders of our teachers in our classrooms."

CBC has requested comment from the Department of Education on the leaked report.

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With files from Donna McElligott