The President of the Kativik School Board in Nunavik, Alicie Nalukturuk, asks the Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports of Quebec Sébastien Proulx to appoint a representative to resolve the issue of graduation for Inuit students who have completed high school. For the past five years, Inuit students have been unable to obtain a high school diploma because of the Ministry’s refusal to accredit the programs of the local school board. The rate of high school graduates in Nunavik after seven years is 17.8%. For the rest of Quebec, this rate reached 72.3%.
This is to address two pressing education issues in Nunavik. 1) Accreditation of Kativik School Board (KSB) Mathematics and Science Programs; and 2) the need for the Department to appoint a deputy minister representative to work with us on a regular basis and Address the issues we face.
Over the past five years we have written regularly to the Department of Education to seek assistance in addressing issues that are central to our concerns within our education mandate and responsibilities , But without getting the attention we should have received. Accreditation of the Kativik School Board’s mathematics and science programs is an example of how the Department of Education has consistently ignored our requests for help and support. As a result, students in Nunavik find themselves in a situation where both the Kativik School Board and the Department of Education are responsible.
Three years have elapsed since the Director of Curriculum Development, Mr. Hamel, retired. Since that time, no representative has been appointed to work on issues related to the development of curricula. Since Mr. Hamel’s retirement, we have been relentless in trying to address the issue of program accreditation with the department. However, the department has not assigned us any representatives to work with us on this issue. Also, the fact that departmental officials are constantly changing and unfamiliar with Nunavik also brings with it additional challenges.
We are still at an impasse and, to date, we have not received any information indicating that progress is being made at the departmental level. Given the importance of the issue of accreditation of KSB programs, we ask you to send us a timetable immediately explaining the sequence of events and take steps to complete the accreditation process.
I would also like to point out that any delay in the updating and accreditation of the school board’s programs has a direct and enormous impact on our students and throughout Nunavik. Since 2014-2015, our high school graduates have received a Secondary School Equivalency Certificate (AEES), not a high school diploma. The EYES was to be a temporary measure. The objective of the school board is to work with the Ministry of Education to ensure that all students in Nunavik receive a high school diploma after graduation from high school.
Given the delays in addressing the accreditation of our mathematics and science programs, a nominee must support the Kativik School Board. The fact that departmental employees are constantly changing is an important issue.
The tasks ahead are complex and are not limited to the important AEES-DES issue. They include many other technical and pedagogical issues that require coordination at the Deputy Minister level in accordance with Truth and Reconciliation Commission Recommendation 62, iv.
I remind you that we are still waiting for the Department of Education to approve the mathematics and science programs of the Kativik School Board. We also insist that this issue be addressed as a matter of priority so that our students in Nunavik can once again graduate from high school by the end of high school.
We look forward to a clear indication that these two issues are prioritized, as you indicated recently, on April 28, during the examination of estimates of education spending in 2017-2018 in the National Assembly.
Please accept, Sir, the expression of my respectful sentiments.
Benjamin Diaz started working for Debate Report in 2017. Ben grew up in a small town in northern Ontario. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife a year later. Benhas been a proud Torontonian for the past 10 years. He covers politics and the economy. Previously he wrote for CTV News and the Huffington Post Canada.