|Nunavut Research Team L to R: F. Walton, M. Sandiford, D. O'Leary, K. Wheatley|
The Nunavut team at the Faculty of Education, UPEI work with partners to improve the education system in Nunavut by offering professional learning for educators and researching aspects of Inuit education. Research includes building knowledge about Inuit education in Nunavut by exploring high school education, access to university, Inuit leadership and the experiences of students in the Nunavut MEd program.
Education is a key determinant of health, well-being, and socio-economic levels. Currently, approximately 25% of Nunavut students reach graduation (Statistics Canada, 2006). Without high school diplomas, many Nunavut youth are unqualified for higher-level jobs in the public service or Inuit organizations (T. Berger, 2006; Government of Nunavut, 2010). Transforming the education system to raise high school graduation rates will lead to improvements in the overall well being of Inuit in Nunavut. The Nunavut Team works with Inuit educational leaders to support them in their vital roles in creating a strong education system, which prepares youth in Nunavut to build their communities.
The Nunavut Team works towards creating long-term and sustainable change by building capacity from within the community. Their education programs focus on developing leadership among Inuit educators and building confidence, knowledge and skills as they become successful leaders. Our research projects focus on the development of UPEI MEd graduates as researchers within Nunavut communities. Working together with educators in Nunavut and supporting Inuit direction of research projects ensures improved local leadership in education.
In light of the history of aboriginal education in Canada, decolonizing methodologies ground the research and programs. Decolonizing methodologies recognize the marginalization of Inuit culture, language, traditions, and worldviews and the importance of creating a space for Inuit self-determination.
To help promote and strengthen Inuktitut, the Nunavut Team strives to create a bilingual and bicultural environment in both their education and research activities. Providing an environment that draws on the strengths of both Inuit and Qallunaat (southern) worldviews helps to develop participants’ individual strengths.
Building the capacity of Inuit educators and knowledge about the Inuit education helps to support Nunavut in its efforts to create an education system that is successful in preparing Inuit youth to take control of their future.