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20 juillet 2010

Educate me please...

There are very few opportunities for higher education in the north. Other than a few vocational programs, institutions like Nunavut Arctic College and Nunavimmi Pigiursavik, there are virtually no academic opportunities for people who want to pursue non-vocational education in their home regions. This is especially true of Nunavik. There are a bunch of reasons why this is, be it low graduation rate, isolation from the rest of the country and some would say lack of human resources.

The programs we have now have been fairly successful. I think if it were going to be even more successful, a university in the arctic would need to be on an arctic clock, rather than a conventional western clock. By that, I mean follow seasons in a way that Inuit would follow the seasons. Build semesters around a cultural schedule, like for example, a conventional winter semester starts in mid January, then there’s a break around March before ending in early may. Inuit in post secondary get a break to go home in the coldest month where there aren’t a lot of hunting opportunities, but they miss the goose hunting season in April/May. What if the winter semester started in late October, then instead of spring break, it’s Christmas break, after Christmas, people would finish around March and be free just in time for ice fishing and goose hunting. I don’t know, maybe it’s not possible, but something tells me conventional semesters in the north wouldn’t work all that well in the long run (I mean, unless loss of traditional activities and intense assimilation was a long term goal)...

Then there’s concept of intensive semesters. You know, instead of four months of study, make it two. People in the north are most successful when they don’t have to waste so much time in the process. Most people have children; most people suffer from high cost of living. Working for four months while doing full time studies and raising children at the same time in the midst of a housing crisis isn’t very appealing to a lot of Inuit (Or anyone for that matter).

Or maybe something like shift work, shift work has been proven one of the best ways to have employee efficiency among Inuit staff. People work for two or three solid weeks then go hunting for the next two solid weeks. It’s perfect for people that would rather be on the land, but still have bills to pay. A lot of Inuit don’t go to school because that’s too much time not being on the land. Two weeks on, two weeks off might be difficult administratively, but that’s something that can be dealt with. Just to make it even clearer, imagine having two sections of a class in a four month intensive semester. The first section would do 2 weeks, then they would get their break while the next section did their two weeks. It’s repetitive for teachers but hey, they could be on shifts too, just so that they can keep some continuity and flow with their class. Students could use this time to work, go hunting, even sit in on the other sections classes if they miss anything or want to understand more deeply.

There are a whole bunch of other ways this could be done, these are just some things i was thinking of.. We have the chance to create something completely new and different from systems that have been proven ineffective up north. Why don’t we try to be more innovative? We’re starting from scratch here.. let’s not F**k up like they have in the past. JCG


À cause de l'impossibilité de supporter les différentes polices de caractères en syllabiques, les commentaires doivent obligatoirement être rédigés en Anglais, en Français ou en Inuktitut romanisé. Nous sommes désolés de l'inconvénient.

Educate me ...
Publié le Vendredi 20 Août 2010 par Thierry
"...a university in the arctic would need to be on an arctic clock, rather than a conventional western clock..." Yep, you are right: adapt the University to the northern-life condition and way of life of their inhabitants to preserve culture and work days money making. Therefore I am not sur that the sentence "...let’s not F**k up like they have in the past... " had it place here. Not because I am a westerner but the past is far away and the best thing is to keep it in mind and not doing, or let people do, the same error. The global warming effects will modifiy northern way of life, so it is now important to look carefully what is on track, which projects (politic, economic, security ...) , how Canadian government sees northern Territory now ... t oavoid the errors of the past.
Publié le Lundi 09 Août 2010 par Tara
Hi! I just wanted to say that I find your blog very interesting. I recently began learning about Inuit art and came across your blog while doing research. I'm looking forward to future posts!

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