Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut November 22, 2012 - 6:31 am

Nunavut school attendance rate has dropped: education department report

Attendance at territory's schools falls four percentage points


Over any two-week period inside the average Nunavut school, you might find only seven students attending class for every 10 who are actually enrolled.

Those numbers come from the Government of Nunavut’s department of education’s 2009-10 annual report.

From kindergarten to Grade 12, the percentage of children who attend school stands at 70.8 per cent territory-wide, the report says.

That’s almost four percentage points down from 2001-2002 when the rate was 74.5 per cent.

Nunavut has nonetheless seen an increase in the raw number of its students enrolled in the education system since the beginning of this decade: there were about 1,700 more students enrolled in 2009 compared to in 2001.

But fewer are attending school.

In comparison, the Northwest Territories’ schools achieved an average attendance rate of 84.3 per cent, according to its student assessment results from February 2011 — almost 14 percentage points higher than Nunavut’s average rate.

Yet the Government of the Northwest Territories still calls these attendance levels an “area of concern.”

Four of the worst communities for attendance rates among K-12 schools in Nunavut can be found in the Qikiqtani region. These include:

• Hall Beach, 51 per cent;

• Resolute, 58.7 per cent;

• Qikiqtarjuaq, 59.7 per cent; and,

• Pond Inlet, 62.1 per cent. 

Gjoa Haven in the Kitikmeot region is not far behind with a school attendance rate of 58.2 per cent. Overall in Kitikmeot schools, the attendance rate hovered at 69 per cent in 2009-10, with Cambridge Bay showing the highest rate of attendance: 78.6 per cent in 2009-10, although that’s down from 2001-02 when 80.9 per cent of students or nearly nine in 10 showed up to school every day.

The best school attendance rates in Nunavut are in the communities of Repulse Bay, Rankin Inlet and Coral Harbour — which are located in the Kivalliq region. Their attendance rates stand at 87.9 per cent, 83.7 per cent, and 80.5 per cent, respectively.

Among Iqaluit’s three school districts, the Commission scolaire francophone du Nunavut boasts the highest rate of attendance in the territory: 90.6 per cent.

Students at its Ecole des Trois Soleils must be Nunavut residents, who have a “mother or father whose first language is French, or who received education in French as their primary language,” according to the report.

Apex also scores high, with 84.1 per cent of its students attending its Nanook School.

However, Iqaluit as a whole sees only 73.7 per cent of its students, that is, about seven in 10, attending school on a regular basis. That’s only marginally better than the territory’s average.

Nunavut students generally attend school until they reach Grade 7.

This is when their attendance drops off.

Students in Grades 10 and 11 rank the worst for going to school, according to figures from 2009-10, with only a 52.2 per cent and 53 per cent attendance rate, which means only about half of students in those grades show up for class.

That’s down from 2001-02 by several percentage points.

On this graph from the 2009/10 Nunavut Education Department's annual report, you can check attendance rates in Nunavut's schools.
On this graph from the 2009/10 Nunavut Education Department's annual report, you can check attendance rates in Nunavut's schools.
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