Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut February 15, 2016 - 9:58 am

Nunavut will see 10 new teaching positions in 2016-17

The GN's student-educator ratios show attendance is up across the territory

SARAH ROGERS
New student-educator ratio data for this year shows Nunavut will get ten new educator positions across territory in 2016-17, although not all communities will benefit. (FILE PHOTO)
New student-educator ratio data for this year shows Nunavut will get ten new educator positions across territory in 2016-17, although not all communities will benefit. (FILE PHOTO)

Student enrollment across the territory is up this year, newly-released statistics from Nunavut’s Department of Education reveal.

And that will translate into 10 new educator positions across Nunavut in 2016-17, from 638 to 648 overall, although not all communities will see an increase.

The Department of Education’s latest student-educator ratios show that eight Nunavut communities will see an increase in numbers of educators in September 2016.

The term educator includes teachers, principals, student support teachers, librarians and guidance counselors.

Another eight communities will see slight decreases in the number of local educators in the next academic year, while the rest of the territory won’t see any change at all. (See the chart below.)

The formula the Government of Nunavut uses to calculate student enrollment has been in place for years, but the student information system — used by administrators to enter student attendance data — is relatively new.

The Maplewood software system, implemented in Nunavut schools almost three years ago to replace an aging Filemaker Pro system, operates in real time.

But the new system shook up student-educator ratios in some communities last year, when the new system’s data resulted in the loss of 12.5 teaching positions in Arviat, and another five in each of Baker Lake and Cambridge Bay.

That lead some administrators in Nunavut to question the accuracy of the territory’s data collection.

“In some respect, it’s calculating things to the bone,” said Nunavut’s assistant deputy minister of education John MacDonald about the new software last April. “We noticed immediately when we implemented that, that enrolment dropped dramatically. That had a huge impact this year, and we rely solely on that data.”

This year, the impact isn’t so extreme: the most educators any one community will lose is 2.5 teaching positions (Gjoa Haven), while a handful of communities will see a increase of three educators each.

Nunavummiut students must attend at least 40 per cent of instruction time in a given month to be considered “enrolled.”

In Nunavut, the Education Act requires that student-educator ratios stay below the national average, which is currently set at 13.8 students to every educator.

In the most recent publication of ratios by jurisdiction, Nunavut places fifth in Canada, with a ratio of 13:1.

But using a straight student-educator ration does not account for the needs of smaller schools in the territory, so that ratio is adjusted in schools with smaller populations.

In communities with kindergarten to Grade 12, schools with a population of up to 150 full-time students, the ratio becomes 12.8:1.

Communities that have kindergarten to Grade 12 schools with a student population under 100 have a ratio of 10.8:1.

A summary of student-educator ratios across Nunavut, by region, in both 2015-16 and 2016-17. (IMAGE COURTESY OF THE GN)
A summary of student-educator ratios across Nunavut, by region, in both 2015-16 and 2016-17. (IMAGE COURTESY OF THE GN)
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