Nunavut’s education mess continues to embarrass

“Rampant truancy and an insidious culture of social promotion”


This graph, from The 10 and 3 website, illustrates Nunavut's

This graph, from The 10 and 3 website, illustrates Nunavut’s “shockingly low” high school graduation rates.

Nunavut’s woeful school system continues to attract the wrong kind of attention.

The latest comes from a website published by four young data analysts called The 10 and 3.

Their goal is to tell interesting stories about Canada by using statistical data to create maps, interactive charts and other types of visualizations.

In a project completed last week, the story they tell does not flatter Nunavut’s department of Education.

“Nunavut’s high school graduation rates are shockingly low,” the group found.

In their study, they compared Canada’s overall high school graduation rate with the OECD average.

(The OECD, or Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, is a 34-country organization of states set up in 1961 to promote world trade and economic progress.)

The researchers found that Canada’s overall high school graduation rate — 85 per cent — is slightly above the OECD average of 84 per cent, behind Korea, Japan and the Netherlands but ahead of developed nations like the United States, Sweden and Italy.

But at the same time, they found Canada’s national average conceals huge disparities within the country.

Among the best performers in education are Nova Scotia (87 per cent,) Ontario (86 per cent) and British Columbia (85 per cent.)

The worst performers are Alberta (69 per cent,) Quebec (74 per cent) and the three territories.

And of those, Nunavut is the worst of all, with a graduation rate of only 35 per cent.

That’s 10 per cent below the OECD’s worst performing country, Mexico, a performance indicator that they say is “shockingly low.”

They attribute that to social promotion and absenteeism.

“Nunavut’s social problems are well documented, but contributing to the poor graduation rates in particular is a combination of rampant truancy and an insidious culture of “social promotion,” which encourages passing students from one grade to the next even when they are not ready,” the researchers said.

“As a result, kids who just can’t keep up are simply dropping out of high school (at an astonishing 50% rate),” the study found.

You can view the study, and use their interactive graphic, at this page on their website.

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