NU officials speak out against school policies preventing student from speaking Inuktitut

November 2, 2016

"We are in 2016. All teachers should be told that the language of Inuktitut should be promoted — not stopped," replied MLA Paul Okalik in Inuktitut when he heard that a Nunavut teacher had ordered a Grade 8 student to not speak Inuktitut. MLA David Joanasie suggests that an alleged school policy against speaking the language appears to have arisen out of concern about bullying occurring in Inuktitut, which English-speaking teachers may not be able to understand. Nunavut Education Minister Paul Quassa called for an investigation into the matter, stating that “once we learn of the actual details, we will review the case with the teachers to ensure that language is not used for this type of disciplinary action since language should not be a reason.” Nunavut Tunngavik Inc has also released a statement calling for “an education system and strong legislation that are built upon fully effective bilingual Inuktitut and English instruction in our schools.” The Cape Dorset District Education Authority followed up to state that there is no policy at the school preventing students from speaking Inuktitut, and called the notion that such a policy could be put in place “absurd.” CBC | Nunatsiaq Online | Nunatsiaq Online (DEA Response) | NationTalk (NTI)