National Strategy on Inuit Education

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, 2011

During the process leading to this Strategy we have heard from parents, youth, education leaders and policy specialists from across Inuit Nunangat that the key to improving educational outcomes for Inuit lies in three core areas:

1) Supporting children to help them stay in school.
2) Providing a bilingual curriculum to achieve literacy in the Inuit language and at least one of Canada’s official languages, and learning resources that are relevant to the Inuit culture, history and worldview.
3) Increasing the number of education leaders and bilingual educators in our schools and early childhood programs.

The National Strategy on Inuit Education responds to these urgent needs, as well as addressing other matters that will help to close the education gap between Inuit youth and other Canadians.

Our vision is to graduate bilingual Inuit children with the skills and knowledge to contribute with pride and confidence to the 21st century. However, no Strategy will walk children to school. No Strategy will ensure that children arrive in class well fed and well rested. This role falls to parents and guardians. We will need their continued support if we are to succeed in transforming our education systems.

And if we are to restore the trust of parents who have been deeply hurt by their own educational experiences, we must build an education system grounded in the Inuit culture, history and worldview, and with respect for the role of parents.

In producing this Strategy we have been greatly encouraged by the support of governments and Inuit organizations. The modern history of Inuit land claims has proven that we can be successful in reclaiming those aspects of our lives that were once the foundation of healthy communities. We must now apply that same determination to building our own successful education system.

The Strategy is a blueprint for a new era in Inuit education. Implementing its recommendations will necessitate a collective determination to identify new resources, and strengthen the capacity in Inuit regions to transform our education systems. This will not happen overnight.

I want to extend my thanks to the leaders of federal, provincial and territorial governments, school boards, and national and regional Inuit organizations, for recognizing that this is a moment that comes along rarely — the opportunity to cooperate in setting shared education goals for future generations. We must now live up to our responsibility as leaders by making the decisions that will realize these goals.
Mary Simon

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