Nunatsiaq Online
LETTERS: Nunavut May 30, 2012 - 12:44 pm

“Survival skills” instead of “education?”

NUNATSIAQ NEWS

With respect to “Education Week,” I wish to propose that this name be changed to “Survival Skills Week.”

My reason is quite simple and straightforward.

Survival skills are whatever is necessary to maintain a healthy and happy life. Traditionally in the north it meant knowing how to hunt, how to sew, how to design and create clothing, shelter, modes of transportation and related tools necessary to survive in a harsh climate.

Survival skills included, amongst other skills, learning everything about nature, about navigating by heavenly bodies, about learning the habits and peculiarities of marine, airborne and land wildlife. Learning how to survive and survive well has always been a life long education taking years of study and experience.

Today our survival skills are different. The basic survival skills are learning to read and write in one’s own and imported languages.

We must know how to intelligently express ideas and emotions. We must learn the laws and formulas of numbers, learn computer skills, learn problem solving skills plus much, much more.

Education then is no more and no less than learning those skills that will help us survive in an ever-changing, chaotic and competitive world.

While learning new survival skills is absolutely important we cannot and must not forget traditional survival skills – skills that have been studied and learned over several thousand years of history and which are as vitally important today as they were in past decades.

The greater our knowledge and the more developed are our “survival skills” the better we are able to survive and thrive.

Some things in life just never change.

Frank Pearce
Iqaluit



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