Group launches 37 calls to action to drive academic success in the North

The Task Force on Post-Secondary Education in the North, appointed by Minister for Northern Affairs Daniel Vandal in October 2020, has just released a 100-page report aimed at improving opportunities for Northerners to thrive in academia .

Representatives from the three territories, but also from Nunavik (Quebec), Nunatsiavut (Newfoundland and Labrador) and northern Manitoba were involved in the development of the report, written following the online consultation or in person by more than 800 residents of these regions.

It was really amazing to see how we all face the same obstaclesnotes Angélique Ruzindana Umunyana, president of the Collège nordique francophone in Yellowknife and national spokesperson for the group.

another member, Jodie LaneDirector of Education in Nunatsiavut says one of the things preventing access to post-secondary education in the northern regions is the lack of alignment of school programs.

« The majority of our students are Aboriginal and if they do not recognize themselves in their educational process it impacts their ability to learn, their efficiency and the amount of things they absorb. »

A quote from Jodie Lane, Director of Education, Government of Nunatsiavut

She says she’s ready for it Bet his career on the fact that students are much better equipped to succeed when the programs integrate more Aboriginal culture and languages.

The document, which will soon be available in French, identifies many such barriers to academic success for Northerners. These include the fact that the K-12 curriculum does not prepare students well enough for the rest of their studies, the problem of accessing decent housing for students, or the fact that on-site training is often not available.

Local Education

Ashlee Cunsolo, founding dean of the Department of Arctic and Subarctic Studies at Memorial University in Saint John, Newfoundland and Labrador, cites the University of Yukon as an example, which she believes is one Star in the post-secondary world showing what can be done.

« We need access to university education in the North so people don’t have to travel and to address generational inequalities that result from lack of access to post-secondary education. »

A quote from Ashlee Cunsolo, Founding Dean, Faculty of Arctic and Subarctic Studies, Memorial University

This distance also poses a problem in terms of internet connection, which is expensive and whose access difficulties are well documented in the north, adds Angélique Ruzindana Umunyana.

Angelique Ruzindana Umunyana poses in front of a building.

Angélique Ruzindana Umunyana is part of the North Post-Secondary Education Task Force. She hopes to see changes “as soon as possible” after the report’s release, with 37 calls to action.

Photo: Radio Canada / Noémie Moukanda

The calls to action presented in the report therefore seek to respond to these obstacles, for example by affirming the need to continue investing in the education of and for indigenous peoples, by allowing more space for their knowledge and presence at all levels of institutions, not only programs but also governance.

Support education in French

At the end of the document, two calls for action specific to Francophone education are presented. The first aims to support access to quality education in French in an environment where Aboriginal languages ​​and cultures have an important place.

The second calls for support for partnerships with colleges and universities in the south to develop programs in French adapted to the realities of the north.

We’re still aware that there aren’t many French speakers here so we can’t hope to have a French speaking university in the north, so it’s the opportunity to partner with institutions in the south that will really make the difference for usnote Angélique Ruzindana Umunyana.

She hopes, like the other members of the working group, that all those involved in education are now ready to get down to work and she assures that Minister Daniel Vandal is committed to making things happen.

It is really optimism that drives me today and I am confident that this will lead to good opportunities for post-secondary education in the Northshe is happy.

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