Ottawa wants input on how to improve post-secondary education in the North

New task force must present recommendations by winter’s end

The class of 2018 at Inuksuk High School in Iqaluit is seen here. The federal government has launched a task force to look at how to improve outcomes in post-secondary education across the North. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

Three Nunavummiut will sit on a new task force the federal government launched this month to look at how to improve post-secondary education across the North.

The initiative was one of the pledges outlined in the government’s Arctic and Northern Policy Framework. Specifically, the framework aims to close the gaps in education outcomes between northern and southern Canadians, and to provide learning and skills development opportunities for Northern students, including Indigenous knowledge.

A group of 13 leaders and education experts have been appointed to the task force. The group has $1 million and several months to draft recommendations on how to improve education outcomes across the North.

Task force members were nominated by northern governments and Indigenous organizations. Its Nunavut-based members are the following:

  • Rebecca Mearns, the newly appointed acting president of Nunavut Arctic College
  • Peesee Pitsiulak, the dean of the college’s Nunatta Campus
  • James Takkiruq, a Nunavut Law Program student from Gjoa Haven

The other task force members are the following:

  • Erika Marteleira, a manager with Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s post-secondary education secretariat
  • Jodie Lane, Nunatsiavut’s director of education
  • Ashlee Cunsolo, the dean of the School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies at the Labrador Institute of Memorial University
  • Tosh Southwick, a consultant and former associate vice-president of Indigenous engagement and reconciliation at Yukon University
  • Florence Kushniruk, a post-secondary program officer at Champagne and Aishihik First Nation’s education department, in Yukon
  • Shozrё Melanie Bennett, the executive director with the Yukon First Nations Education Directorate
  • Kelsey Wrightson, the executive director of the Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning in Yellowknife
  • Malerie Bayha, a member of the Délı̨nę First Nation in the Northwest Territories
  • Angélique Ruzindana Umunyana, a director with the Collège Nordique Francophone in Yellowknife
  • James Cook, a business administration student at University College of the North in The Pas, Man.

No representatives were appointed from Nunavik.

The Task Force on Northern Post-Secondary Education is expected to deliver a first draft of its recommendations by the end of the winter.

“When more Canadians are able to continue their education, practise new skills, or learn on the job, they are better prepared to find and keep good jobs now, and in the future,” said Northern Affairs Minister Dan Vandal.

“When we look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, the recommendations of this task force will be critical in shaping that recovery.”

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by Oh why? on

    All those interesting comments…. *poof* gone… that’s unfortunate.

  2. Posted by Philosopher Stoned on

    Still no one with a trades background.
    Trades are an essential part of post secondary in Nunavut.

  3. Posted by Yound About on

    I know, where’s the haul truck driver trainers too?

  4. Posted by Molly on

    How about asking the University of Greenland Ilisimatusarfik how it was possible for them to start and have a amazing little university in Nuuk?
    Maybe there could be a partnership with this Arctic University and work together to build one in Canada’s north?
    For trades, they also have very good trades schools in Greenland, you see so many, majority of people working in trades in Greenland are from Greenland.
    So much information and partnership opportunity right next door that always seem to get overlooked.
    It works right next door to us, why don’t we ask how it’s possible?

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      The Kingdom of Denmark dumps billions of kroner annually into Greenland to support otherwise unsustainable transportation and community infrastructure.

      • Posted by Lars on

        Actually it’s about 2.7 million Danish Krone which is around 600,000 Canadian, Denmark sends this amount each year for Greenland.
        How much does Nunavut, NWT get from Canada each year?

        • Posted by Lars on

          My apology it’s 2.8 billion Danish Krone about 600 Canadian dollars each year.

          • Posted by Lars on

            600 million each yeah, but working to make that less each year.

            • Posted by Judy on

              I believe Nunavut gets more than what you get each year, interesting how much the difference is and how much the difference is with both places, makes me think how they can get more done and why we can’t over here.?

  5. Posted by Is that you Pinocchio? on

    This is a prime example how Quality education is taken into consideration behind closed door’s under the nose of Regional Office Education Centre in Nunavut regardless whether quality education teaching ethic’s learning is delivered or not, which unfortunate is taken into consideration across Nunavut! What’s the percentage of Grade 12 graduates enrolled in Post-Secondary College or University???

    Please, provide actual Percentage for Post-Secondary Student’s!


    Quality education delivered in rural schools across Nunavut is most scenario is makeup Mark’s or Grades but if or when Grade 12 graduate enroll college but not university (unfortunately) may luckily enroll in college but may in some case’s go back home due to poor quality educations delivered in schools. This is situation where Department of Education really need to focus or pay attention to some school’s or most schools in Nunavut how curriculum program’s are made-up in classes!!?!

    What is quality educatoion?! and is quality Teaching ethics in classes delivered prepare student’s to enrolL post-secondary such as college or university with confidence???

  7. Posted by Soothsayer on

    I just can’t help but feel the urge to call out this sanctimonious bullshit. Dan Vandal and his incessant, shallow platitudes have been grating on me for a while.
    I hope the public gets to see the first draft of this report and hold it up to some scrutiny. The problem I anticipate is that there will be nothing new or original in this, as committee work often tends toward consensus or group think, which typically finds itself in the middle of the road somewhere saying things that are not disagreeable, but rarely innovative or even interesting.
    I bet we could save a lot of energy, including time and money on this venture by fielding a list of the usual from these participants, all via email, and within a week. Let me kick it off for now:
    More culturally relevant materials (whatever that means exactly, we will never quite pin down, though I expect more Inuktitut kids books and things like that will be the panacea)
    Greater investments and commitment to education (oh yes, how true!).
    Better training for teachers entering the North (indeed! Yes and more Yes!)
    This is only a start, I invite you all to expand on this list…

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