'What we're seeing here is a symptom of poor government planning.'

Arctic Bay school lacks two teachers


Grade 4 and Grade 7 students in Arctic Bay still don't have teachers, seven weeks into the school year.

And with few qualified substitute teachers in town, these students may find themselves being taught by a recent high school graduate, or a Grade 12 student, said one Arctic Bay teacher, who wished to remain unnamed for fear of losing his job.

"You're playing with fire, and you're dealing with whatever you can get," the teacher said.

Of course, it's not the fill-in teachers' faults for lacking credentials, the teacher notes. They're simply trying to help their community out of a bind created by a housing shortage and a bungling bureaucracy.

"I think what we're seeing here is a symptom of poor government planning," the teacher said. "It's a disaster."

The problem arose because, until recently, no housing was available for new teachers. That's not to say there were no empty homes in Arctic Bay. A two-bedroom unit sits empty, but until recently it was reserved for use for another unfilled government job posting for a social worker.

But bureaucracy moves slowly. It took until now for the district education authority, Qikiqtani School Operations and Nunavut Housing Corp. to allocate the unit for the use of teachers.

Hiring for the two opening positions will likely happen soon, and, barring further complications, Grade 4 and 7 students may have permanent teachers in a few weeks.

That's good news for Arctic Bay kids. But the frustrated teacher says the Nunavut government's inability to fill the jobs any quicker is the fault of decentralized offices, and wonders if the same screw-ups won't happen in the future.

"I realize this takes time, but we're eight years into Nunavut."

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