Thursday February 21, 2013 – Iqaluit, Nunavut – Inuit from Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut met at Iqaluit’s Nakasuk School this week to discuss data collection and research priorities for Inuit education and begin drafting a framework for research to address the recommendations of First Canadians, Canadians First: The National Strategy on Inuit Education.
Some 35 Inuit researchers, as well as representatives from Inuit organizations, governments and school boards, spent a day and a half exploring how research on Inuit education should be conducted and some of the priority areas for research. They were joined today by 15 researchers from universities and research institutes in Southern Canada known for their collaborative approach to research with Inuit.
Participants were invited by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s Amaujaq National Centre for Inuit Education, which is coordinating the implementation of the National Strategy’s 10 recommendations. Measuring and Assessing Success is one of the Amaujaq Centre’s four priority areas, which also include investing in early childhood education, mobilizing parents and exploring the feasibility of standardizing Inuktut orthography.
“If we are going to improve our graduation rates, we need to know why our children are dropping out of school to begin with. We need to understand how our children learn, how child-rearing practices influence learning and how early literacy affects success later in life,” said Mary Simon, Chair of ITK’s National Committee on Inuit Education. “But more than that, we need to work together to determine how we measure success.”
One of the most challenging aspects of examining Inuit education in Canada is the comparatively small amount of performance monitoring data that is available to interpret results and trends and to inform policy decisions, members of the NCIE found while drafting the National Strategy.
The research team that examined over 300 published sources on Inuit and Indigenous education for the National Strategy process observed that First Nations research dominated the literature. A handful of recent projects have begun to address this gap, but evidence to inform policy discussions on Inuit education remains in its infancy.
The three-day session was facilitated by Simon and Natan Obed, Director of Social and Cultural Development at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. Funding was provided by ArcticNet, as well as regional organizations and governments.
Patricia D’Souza, Senior Communications Officer
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami