Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavik November 10, 2017 - 11:15 am

Nunavik school board says all grads since 2015 will receive a diploma

Communications with the Quebec government have "greatly improved"

SARAH ROGERS
Proud parents gather around the stage to get photos of Kiluutaq school’s graduating class of 2016-17 following a May 31 ceremony in Umiujaq. (FILE PHOTO)
Proud parents gather around the stage to get photos of Kiluutaq school’s graduating class of 2016-17 following a May 31 ceremony in Umiujaq. (FILE PHOTO)

Education officials in Nunavik say the Quebec government has agreed to reinstate diplomas for high school students who graduated in the region over the last three years.

Last May, it came to light that students who had completed their secondary studies through the Kativik School Board—now renamed as Kativik Ilisarniliriniq—had not been receiving secondary diplomas since 2015.

The issue: Nunavik schools had yet to upgrade secondary math and science curricula as part of a Quebec-wide reform first introduced in 2000.

As a result, some of those courses were no longer accredited, and so students instead received an Attestation of Equivalence of Secondary Studies (AESS).

By August, Quebec’s ministry of education had received and approved the updated curricula, and said it could once again issue diplomas for students graduating in 2018.

But that left 146 graduates from the three previous years without diplomas—until the province agreed to issue diplomas to those graduates as well.

“This has been communicated to us in a recent letter from the ministry of education,” said school board president Alicie Nalukturuk in a Nov. 10 release.

“The council of commissioners and the executive committee worked hard to ensure Nunavik students would be treated fairly and we are extremely happy with this positive result.”

School board officials said they were aware of the diploma issue from the outset, but considered it a temporary issue. At the heart of the problem, the board said, was poor communication with education officials in Quebec City.

Quebec’s education ministry has yet to indicate when and how it will issue those diplomas to the 146 students.

But Kativik Ilisarniliriniq says communication with the ministry has “greatly improved” over the last six months.

That’s thanks, in part, to the appointment of a senior ministry staffer whose role it is to liaise directly with the school board on technical and pedagogical issues.

“At the ministry level, there is now a better understanding of our needs and of the extra resources we require in order to make the transition that the rest of the province went through over a much longer period, with adequate resources allocation,” said the KI’s vice president Robert Watt in the same release.

That’s translated into targeted training for Nunavik’s math teachers, he said.

In October, the KI’s council of commissioners also approved a three-year tutorship program, to be offered in every school, to help students meet “the learning expectations set forth by the ministry.”

The first group of tutors will arrive in five Nunavik communities at the end of the month, the board said, with a second group set to begin in the remaining schools in early 2018.

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