Nunavik Sivunitsavut officially opens its doors
“We’re looking at options for long-term, sustainable funding”
Aug. 21 marked the first day of classes for Nunavik’s new Montreal-based college program.
Nunavik Sivunitsavut, modelled after the Ottawa-based Nunavut Sivuniksavut, opened it doors last week for its first cohort of 18 students, who range in age from 17 to 38.
“We have a wide span of interest from students who are just out of high school to students who’ve already attended CEGEP, so that’s exciting,” said Lisa Mesher, interim director of post-secondary services at the Kativik School Board.
The students began a week of orientation Aug. 14, including a tour of Montreal, a visit with its mayor, Denis Coderre, a camping trip in nearby Mont Tremblant and a country food feast.
Classes began Aug. 21 at Nunavik Sivunitsavut, located within Avataq Cultural Institute’s downtown offices.
The one-year program offers a full slate of accredited courses rooted in Inuit culture, including circumpolar literature, knowledge and history of Nunavik Inuit, Inuktitut language, physical education (including Inuit games) and Inuit government relations.
The KSB first announced plans in 2010 to open a Nunavik version of the program with the goal of offering Nunavik students a chance to learn their history and gain cultural knowledge in an accredited urban setting.
The program itself will be accredited through John Abbott College, which already receives the majority of Nunavik’s post-secondary students who choose to pursue post-secondary studies in English.
Single students are being housed in a nearby residence, while students with dependents will live in nearby apartments.
Nunavik Sivunitsavut is considered a pilot project this year. It’s operating on a $660,000 federal grant and $120,000 from regional partners, which will cover costs for the year.
“We’re looking at options for long-term, sustainable funding,” Mesher said. “We’re exploring to see how this program can continue.”
“We’re very optimistic that it will go well.”
Between NS, John Abbott College, Collège Montmorency in Laval—where the KSB hosts a French-language post-secondary program—and other universities and vocational schools, the KSB is sponsoring 126 full-time post-secondary students from Nunavik this year.