Lighting the Qulliq: The First Master of Education Program in Nunavut
The complete report is available as a PDF on the Additional Information page.
The vision, purpose, and principles supporting the Nunavut MEd were based on the Faculty of Education’s mission statement and the principles, values, and goals established by the Nunavut Government and Department of Education. Partners agreed that the MEd designed for the Nunavut cohort would include most of the same courses offered at UPEI with adaptations to aspects of the course content, sequence, and design to meet students’ needs and ensure the centrality of Inuit perspectives, worldview, and Nunavut-related language and content. Inuit epistemologies and Elders’ knowledge and wisdom, as well as the perspectives and content offered in campus-based courses would provide a major focus in the courses.
A major purpose of the program was to enable Inuit educators to gain graduate-level quali”cations that were also decolonizing. A desire to interrogate and raise consciousness of the colonial and neo-colonial structures, influences, and practices operating within the educational domain in Nunavut, as well as the desire to enhance, strengthen, and highlight Inuit ways of knowing, doing, and being provided a central focus as the program was designed. Inuit leadership within the educational system in Nunavut was also stressed. Developing critical thinking and academic writing skills in both English and Inuit Uqausingit were seen as priorities. Realizing that the program originated in a southern university and was being led by Qallunaat (“southerners”), the planning team and instructors knew that institutional standards and policies, as well as the teaching and learning processes, carried the potential to act as re-colonizing forces at an unconscious level. Careful, conscious, and intentional dialogue and planning were essential elements in the effort to design a graduate program with aspirations to become a decolonizing
learning experience that strengthened Inuit identity and subjectivity.
The MEd for Nunavut created the time and space to enable Inuit educators to enhance their academic knowledge, wisdom, critical understanding, and leadership skills. Participants were encouraged to articulate, document, develop, and implement a personal and collective vision of Inuit educational leadership founded on Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (Government of Nunavut, 2005) that serves the community of Nunavut and works towards the creation of an Inuit educational
The MEd in Nunavut was designed to be an academically challenging process that would lead to personal and professional transformation through the completion of a graduate degree focusing on Leadership in Learning for Inuit educators. Leadership in Learning envisions educational change characterized by collaborative efforts from teachers, program and student support staff, Elders, parents, community members, and learners to provide an education for the
learners in schools and other environments. Conceptions of Inuit leadership in education provided a focus within the MEd program. These notions strengthened Inuit identity and facilitated the exploration of Inuit ways of knowing, being, and doing in educational contexts at a graduate level.
The following principles emerged from several discussions during the planning phases of the program. These principles were drawn from Pinasuaqtavut 2004-2007, a Government of Nunavut document summarizing Inuit social values, and integrated with principles articulated by the Faculty of Education at UPEI. Developed in 2006, the following guiding principles continue to evolve as partners collaborate and suggest changes and additions.
- Serving and Sustainability
- Inclusion, equity, social justice, and diversity
- Creativity, exploration, and aesthetic appreciation