Nunavik students lag behind southern counterparts

Late entry produces high school dropouts: study


The Kativik School Board’s teachers in Nunavik are becoming younger while its students are increasingly falling behind and having a tough time finishing school.

This troubling portrait emerges from two recent, statistic-crammed, Quebec government reports on education, Un portrait statistique de l’éducation dans la Région administrative du Nord-du-Quebec and L’éducation des populations scolaires dans les communautés autochtones du Québec.

In Nunavik, there are twice the number of teachers under 29, who have less than four years of experience, than in southern Quebec schools.

Most of the Inuit teachers are clustered in the kindergarten and lower grades.

Kids in Nunavik start off at the same point as other students in Quebec. Almost every child is enrolled in elementary school, but many are already a year or two behind when they get to secondary school. In 2002-3, there were 2,963 students from pre-kindergarten to Grade 6, but only 832 students enrolled at the secondary grades.

The overall dropout rate is three times higher rate than in the South — even though those students who take their final high school exams in either English or French receive scores as high as their counterparts in the South.

So, if it’s not the quality of the students who succeed, what is causing other students to fail?

The reports find those most likely to drop out are the ones who are already one to three years behind when they get into Sec. 1.

“The phenomenon of late entry into secondary school has an impact on success for secondary students… more than two thirds of the students who have at least one year of delay entering secondary school will drop out,” says the report.

Of those who do manage to graduate, about one in 10 goes on to college, compared to two of three grads in the South. The result is there are not many university graduates in Nunavik, either.

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