MLA asks why Nunavut teaching grads don’t last
“I am aware of cases where NTEP graduates will no longer be employed”
How effective is the Nunavut Teachers Education Program: that’s what Quittiktuq MLA Ron Elliott wanted to know as he grilled the ministers responsible for Education and Nunavut Arctic College in the Nunavut legislature on June 7.
Elliott said too many NTEP graduates are going into administration rather than actual teaching, which worsens the shortage of Inuit teachers in Nunavut.
There are also some NTEP graduates who are being turned away from schools, he said.
“I am aware of cases where NTEP graduates will no longer be employed in their school teaching jobs, apparently because they don’t meet the expectations of their employers,” Elliott said in the assembly.
Daniel Shewchuk, the minister responsible for Nunavut Arctic College, responded that NTEP has graduated more than 100 teachers since its inception and that graduates are qualified to University of Regina standards.
Elliott also questioned whether there is a mentoring program after graduation, and whether NTEP grads are replacing the “significant number of Nunavut teachers” who are retiring.
But Shewchuk referred both questions to the minister of education — which “puzzled” Elliott, who questioned whether the two ministers worked together.
“For a program that is as important as the NTEP program, which receives a considerable amount of money from this house and puts excellent teachers into the classrooms, I don’t know why you wouldn’t work together to try and do a forecast as to how many teachers you need to be training so that you could ask for the proper amount of money to do a program that will educate, train and provide teachers that will be going to a class that are Inuk,” said Elliott.
Shewchuk “took offense” to the comment, and stated the departments “absolutely work very, very closely together.”
Elliott then asked the education minister, Eva Aariak, about mentoring NTEP graduates.
“An orientation plan is being developed for implementation during the 2012-2013 school year. This includes a website that will provide information and resources regarding living and teaching in Nunavut,” Aariak said.
But Elliott continued to question the relationship between the two departments, saying “I just find it hard when I’m asking questions, which to me seem so, closely linked together between departments, why there’s the inability to answer questions.”
Aariak responded that “our officials at the senior level meet regularly depending upon the kind of initiative that they are working with.
“There is a close working relationship within our department and Nunavut Arctic College,” said Aariak who went on to assure Elliott that NTEP graduates will take some of the close to 300 Inuit teaching positions available in the territory.
The questions about mentoring new graduates comes after Arctic Bay mayor Frank May suggested at the recent Nunavut Association of Municipalities meeting that rookie teachers need more support.
In Arctic Bay, NTEP teachers have a tough time staying in a teaching job.
Two women were dismissed and one moved away, while another five teachers are leaving after up to a year and a half of work, May said.
“It seems to me that if we’re putting all this effort into training them, that perhaps on the other side there should be more mentoring of them,” May said.
Nunavut MLAs wrapped up their spring sitting June 8. They’ll be back in the Nunavut legislature on Oct. 23.