Support for High School Students and Adult Learners—Nunavut’s education system not doing enough to help high school students and adult learners succeed
Support for High School Students and Adult LearnersNunavut’s education system not doing enough to help high school students and adult learners succeed
Iqaluit, 4 June 2019—Today, the Office of the Auditor General of Canada provided the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut with the results of an audit that examined how well the Department of Education, Nunavut Arctic College, and the Department of Family Services helped high school students and adult learners transition through high school to post-secondary education and employment.
“Education is important to the well-being of individuals and Nunavut as a whole,” said Mr. James McKenzie, the Principal responsible for the audit. “Our audit found a number of gaps and barriers in Nunavut’s education system that made it difficult for high school students and adult learners to succeed academically and transition to post-secondary education and employment.”
The audit found that many high school students faced challenges and often took more than one year to complete a grade. This extended the time required to get through high school, and many students left school before reaching that point. The Department of Education did not have a strategy to help students graduate and transition from high school, and the career guidance and planning that could help students navigate the challenging path to post-secondary education and employment were not available in all schools. In addition, despite struggling to hire and retain staff, the Department did not have a recruitment and retention strategy to address its human resource needs.
The audit found that adult learners also faced barriers to developing their literacy and other academic skills needed to get their high school diplomas, or to enter the workforce or post-secondary programs. For example, Nunavut Arctic College had not offered its Adult Basic Education program in most of Nunavut’s communities in the last 5 years. The College did offer more frequently and in more communities its Essential Skills program, which prepares learners for semi-skilled jobs.
The audit found that the College also offered preparatory programs to help learners develop the skills necessary to access post-secondary programs, such as those for nursing and teaching. However, because of funding constraints, it could offer these preparatory programs in only a few communities. The audit also found that financial aid was not available to adult learners taking part-time programs, high school courses, and most Adult Basic Education courses.
“It is important that the Department of Education, Nunavut Arctic College, and the Department of Family Services work together to overcome the gaps and barriers we noted in the audit to help high school students and adult learners get the support they need to succeed,” added Mr. McKenzie.
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The report “Support for High School Students and Adult Learners” is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada website.
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