With the school year beginning in most Nunavut communities within the next three weeks, the Government of Nunavut is scrambling to find 60 more teachers.
The bulk of those educators are needed in the Qikiqtani region, which still has 47 vacant positions. As of Aug. 6, 140 teachers had already been hired to staff Qikiqtani schools.
Only eight more teachers are being sought for the Kitikmeot region, where 51 educators are now under contract, and just five more are required in the Kivalliq, where 87 teachers have signed on.
The communities with the greatest need are Iqaluit, where 6.5 jobs are unfilled, and Iglulik, Pangnirtung and Pond Inlet, which each need six more teachers.
No school openings are expected to be delayed due to staff shortages, according to assistant deputy minister Tracey MacMillan.
In Kugluktuk, where some community members expressed concern when the high school principal’s contract was not renewed by the district education authority and some teachers consequently decided not to return, only four educators are needed, two of them at the elementary school.
Nunavut Teachers’ Association president John Fanjoy would not comment on the situation as he has a meeting scheduled with department officials late next week to discuss recruitment efforts and how staff shortages will be addressed.
The overall pace of hiring has improved compared to last year, when there were still 66.5 teaching vacancies as of Aug. 15.
The department’s recruitment efforts include a few internet portals and websites that promote teaching jobs, advertisements in newspapers, attendance at several career and recruitment fairs and trade shows, posting jobs on university job boards and maintaining contact with retired teachers’ associations in B.C., Calgary, Edmonton, Ontario, Manitoba and a national association.
The Department of Education is also developing a 10-year educator retention and recruitment strategy to foster more Inuit and Inuktut-speaking educators, MacMillan stated.
The communities still in need of four or more teachers as of Aug. 6 are Iqaluit (6.5), Iglulik (6), Pangnirtung (6), Pond Inlet (6), Arctic Bay (4.5), Hall Beach (4.5) and Kugluktuk (4).