Sweet success for three Nunavik educators

Women join select group of degree-earners



It may have taken 10 years but that didn’t make Sarah Grey’s convocation ceremony any less sweet when she, and two other Nunavik women, became the latest graduates of the McGill University Bachelor of Education program.

Grey, of Aupaluk, Jessie Clunas of Kuujjuaq and Betsy Matte of Akulivik all graduated from the program on June 3 in Montreal.

The Bachelor of Education for certified teachers allows graduates of the Kativik School Board-McGill Inuit teacher-training program, and other certified teachers, to earn a degree part-time over a maximum of 12 years.

And because courses are offered in Nunavik, it gives students the freedom to work while pursuing their education.

Only 11 students, who first earned their teaching certificates through the KSB-McGill Inuit teacher-training program, have gone on to complete their Bachelor of Education since the Inuit teacher-training program began in the mid 1970s.

Grey started working on her degree after earning her teaching certificate in 1989.

“I wanted to take all the courses offered by McGill. I wanted to learn them,” she said. “I am happy. It was long but I only took courses two times a year because I’m working and have kids too.”

Grey currently counsels new Inuit teachers. But she occasionally works on program development and hopes the degree will help her focus on this.

Clunas and Matte could not be reached for comment.

Doris Winkler, the former director of the Inuit teacher-training program and a current counsellor with the KSB, said the graduation rate might appear low. But the Inuit teacher-training certificate program has graduated 105 students since it began in the mid-1970s, she said, and there are about 15 students currently working on their B.Ed.

The first three Nunavimmiut graduated from the bachelor of education program in 1987, Winkler said.

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