Nunavut schools all up and running, but teacher shortage persists
Qikiqtani schools suffer from 25 unfilled teaching positions
The start of Grade 6 classes has been delayed in one Nunavut community, while another school is rotating classes day by day as the Government of Nunavut continues to recruit much-needed teachers to work in its schools.
Students began returning to school across Nunavut in mid-August, at which point there were still 63 vacant teaching positions in the territory.
As of Sept. 7, with all schools now open, the Department of Education has put a dent in that number. But, to be able to operate at full force, Nunavut still needs an additional 46.5 teachers for the 2018-19 school year.
Most of those vacancies remain in the Qikiqtani region, where there are 25 unfilled teaching jobs, while the Kitikmeot region has 15 vacancies and the Kivalliq six.
Education officials have stepped up their recruitment efforts in recent weeks, issuing pitches to university graduates and retired teachers to come north.
The department is focused on hiring in the Qikiqtani region and its most affected communities: Arctic Bay, Cape Dorset, Clyde River and Igloolik.
While teaching applicants are usually required to hold a Bachelor of Education degree, the department has also temporarily exempted that requirement for schools in those communities.
At Sam Pudlat school in Cape Dorset, which was short 10 teachers when it opened Aug. 27, the start of its two Grade 6 classes have been delayed until next Monday, Sept. 10.
And in Arctic Bay’s Inuujaq school, administrators have to keep one class home each day as its rotates its teaching staff.
“The school is doing its best with the support of the department to prevent cancelled classes,” the GN’s Department of Education said in an email to Nunatsiaq News on Thursday, Sept. 6.
“However, there is a shortage of substitute teachers and illness in the community.”
Iqaluit was among the last Nunavut communities to see its schools re-open; all six schools welcomed students back Sept. 4.
While there are a handful of teaching positions left to hire, the local district education authority said classes could begin with no delays.
Principals at all four of the city’s schools have said they anticipate having trouble finding substitute teachers through the year. This has been a recurring challenge.
Teaching jobs are posted here.