Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut August 09, 2013 - 8:56 am

As school year starts, Nunavut’s Baffin region still recruiting staff

About 20 education jobs remain vacant

On Sept. 3 students in Iqaluit will return to school. (FILE PHOTO)
On Sept. 3 students in Iqaluit will return to school. (FILE PHOTO)

As students start to file back into class, officials at the Qikiqtani School Operations are still hiring teachers to work in Baffin region classrooms this school year.

Trudy Pettigrew, the executive director of Qikiqtani school operations, said 20 jobs, most of them for teachers, still need to be filled before schools start.

However, Pettigrew said many candidates are interested in those jobs, which she expects to fill before the first school bells ring.

“We anticipate that many of them — most of them — [will be] filled when school starts. Some are getting reference checks, others are waiting for the DEA [department education authority] to do interviews,” Pettigrew said.

Currently on the website, you can see seven job openings — two in Resolute, two in Pangnirtung and one each in Igloolik, Apex and Pond Inlet.

Salaries for these jobs range from $68,608 to $107,575 depending on experience and qualifications, not including northern allowances and other benefits. 

The jobs include three elementary school teachers, two Inuktitut language specialists, one high school program consultant and a teacher for physical education and English as a second language. 

In total, the QSO hired 84 new employees for the region this year — of these, 63 came from within the Nunavut education system.

That means only 21 new teachers who had not previously taught in Nunavut were hired this year.

Pettigrew said a couple of those new hires came from the Nunavut Teacher Education Program.

“All are not coming from the South. Some of them are Inuktitut-speaking positions, some of which are half-time,” Pettigrew said.

But it’s another year with the same sort of problems, because there still aren’t enough Inuktitut-speaking teachers.

“In my time, the need has always exceeded the supply. It will get worse,” Pettigrew said.

Pettigrew said that’s because of “the requirements to teach higher grades in Inuktitut,” and she thinks the system is “not graduating enough teachers to fill that need.”

“People want graduates to be strong in both languages. It is a challenge,” she said.

Not only is it a challenge to find Inuktitut-speaking teachers, it’s also a challenge to hire southern educators willing to move to Nunavut where the lack of housing for teachers is a deterrent.

“Education hires a lot of employees to the government at the same time. Many teachers have to share [the same house],” Pettigrew said.

“I’d say a higher proportion of teachers have to share than other government employee groups. It’s not an ideal situation.”

Although this year there were many teaching applications received — Pettigrew said 50 to 70 applicants at the beginning of the staffing season — hiring principals is usually a much more difficult task.

This year seven new principals out of the 22 schools in the Qikiqtani region are new.

Six of those principals are in-house hires, meaning they’re already working in Nunavut’s education system, and one is a former Nunavut principal returning to the territory.

Pettigrew hopes 2013 marks a change in the difficulties that the department usually has finding principals.

Adbus Salam, principal of Inuujaq School in Arctic Bay, said this year there hasn’t been much turnover at his school — only three new teachers compared to six or seven last year.

Many students in western Nunavut have already gone back to school.

Schools start in the Baffin region on these dates:

• Apex: Sept. 3

• Arctic Bay: Aug. 13

• Cape Dorset: Aug. 21

• Clyde River: Aug. 15

• Grise Fiord: Aug. 28

• Hall Beach: Aug. 8

• Igloolik: Aug 22

• Iqaluit: Sept. 3 (Aug. 26 for École des Trois-Soleils)

• Kimmirut: Aug. 28

• Pangnirtung: Sept. 5

• Pond Inlet: Aug. 16

• Qikiqtarjuaq: Aug. 23

• Resolute Bay: Aug. 26

• Sanikiluaq: Sept. 5

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