University education provides more than job training


I wish to clarify a couple of things Larry Audlaluk, chair of the Kakivak Association, stated in his letter (“Kakivak policies aren’t stifling ‘the dream of Nunavut,'” Aug. 23).

The funding I applied for was not the entire amount FANS had offered me. I would not have been receiving the full funding provided by FANS if Kakivak had accepted my application.

Also, I am not “tak[ing] a creative writing program in British Columbia” as Audlaluk misleadingly stated. I am attending university, where I am required to complete a myriad of courses, among them mandatory English courses and others that have no connection to creative writing. I am just planning to major in creative writing.

I will not question Audlaluk’s understanding of university education, except to say that I cannot graduate by taking only writing courses. I have to complete a minor, and a majority of the courses I will need to complete my degree will in fact not be writing courses.

I would like to point out that, although the funds and programs Audlaluk listed in his letter provided training and/or “immediate” employment for the people who completed them, most people in those jobs (I cannot give you statistics, I’m just speaking from personal experience) will not move much further than supervising others.

How will Nunavummiut (specifically, Qikiqtaalmmiut in Kakivak’s case) ever accomplish the “lofty goals” of leading the territory if Kakivak maintains a policy that provides employment – but very little or no room for advancement?

As our current legislature showed with their choice of Paul Okalik over Jack Anawak as premier, university education played a significant role in choosing who would lead the territory. Even though Anawak has years of experience as not only a territorial MLA, but also a federal MP, members chose the rookie Okalik.

As important as it is to have people who can translate English into Inuktitut or supervise visitors to a Youth Centre, it is of greater importance to have Inuit who are educated in such a way as to be able to adapt their knowledge to varying situations that arise in daily work, government and otherwise.

I am not trying to undermine Kakivak’s role in providing valuable expendable income to Inuit of the Qikiqtaaluk region, I am just attempting to point out that if we do not convince our children and youth that university education is a necessary attribute of a leader, and instead show them that they can have a well-paid job after attending a six-month course, we are stifling the dream of having a representative percentage of Inuit running the territory, from the top level down.

I applaud every person who completed Kakivak-funded training for taking the initiative to further their careers, but I would ask them to ponder whether they would have a greater choice of possible occupations if they had the ability (including adequate funds) to attend university.

When I complete my degree in creative writing, I will look for work in that field. If I cannot find work, I’ll look for work in my intended minor, anthropology. And if that doesn’t work out, I will have completed many courses in varying subjects which would allow me to look for work in those other fields. Not to mention the overall educational advancement I will receive from the university experience that would allow me to move up the ladder in any field in which I should find work.

These are options not available to someone who completes a job-specific training course.

Mosha Folger

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