It’s time to look at gaps in Inuit language learning, language commissioner says
"Teaching the Inuit language during language development years is critical"
The Office of the Languages Commissioner (OLC) is responding to both letters: “Inuk toddler denied daycare access because arents are non-Inuit,” published July 29, 2013 and “Nunavut does not meet the linguistic needs of its children,” published Aug. 21, 2013.
The OLC has taken note of the concerns raised by both authors and shares their concerns, primarily, the need to have better access to Inuit language child care facilities or early childhood education for our children in Nunavut.
Teaching the Inuit language during language development years is critical to providing a solid foundation, while also maintaining a continuum in the following levels of education.
Given the Government of Nunavut’s commitment to review of the Child Care Act and the anticipated upcoming five-year review of the Inuit Language Protection Act (ILPA,) it is an opportune time to think about the gaps in the system, especially the linguistic needs of children in Nunavut.
Currently, the Child Care Act has no provisions or requirements for Inuit language programming. The ILPA speaks about the Government of Nunavut promoting Inuit language development and learning. However, this does not go far enough in protecting language rights for this age group.
One of the OLC’s priorities for this fiscal year is to conduct a research project on Inuit language learning development in Nunavut to identify its strengths and weaknesses.
Part of this research project will be to review and provide recommendations on best program models for early childhood language acquisition and maintenance.
The OLC will continue to advocate for Inuit language learning development in Nunavut and is committed to working with all stakeholders to help improve the situation.
We are encouraging anyone to communicate their concerns on this or other language related issues to our office.
Languages Commissioner of Nunavut
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