Nunavut education system proposed
School structure smaller, community-based

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (DEC 02/96) - The Eastern Arctic education system will be leaner and communities will have more input, according to a draft report on the Nunavut education system.

The document was presented before Nunavut principals when they met Nov. 4 to 8 in Baker Lake.

"There's a need for change," said Curtis Brown, director of education with the Keewatin Divisional Board of Education. "We can't continue with the school format we have now."

The proposed structure, which meets the criteria set down by the Nunavut Implementation Commission (NIC) has a number of points. It gives local communities more control over how they run their schools and reduces the number of school boards from three to one.

It replaces the current Department of Education with a smaller Department/Ministry of Education and it combines the administrative and financial functions to cut costs.

Amalgamating divisions and departments will save money, which is important because less money is available for education, Brown said.

More will be saved when the number of positions are reduced with system down-sizing.

"There's potential for loss of positions. Where, we just don't know yet," Brown said.

Principals who attended meetings in Baker Lake can take the proposed model back to their communities, review it closely and provide feedback to share with the board and other schools.

"I think we're at a point where we need an alternative structure. We're getting fewer dollars.

We need to do more with less," Brown said.

That may mean schools sharing costs of running programs with community partners or raising money for programs through increased fund-raising drives.

The minister of education will maintain responsibility of legislation, regulation, education standards and teacher certification under the new system.