Northwest Territories. Department of Education (1969-1992)

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Northwest Territories. Department of Education (1969-1992)

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        Before the transfer of government to Yellowknife in 1967, the Federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) held the responsibility for education in the Northwest Territories. Upon the creation of a Territorial government, a Department of Education was established under the direction of B. C. Gillie and education functions were gradually transferred from the Federal Government. On April 1, 1969, the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) assumed the responsibility for education in the Mackenzie District and took over the responsibility in the Eastern Arctic on April 1, 1970.

        The function of the Department of Education was the provision of education and training programs and facilities in the Northwest Territories. Its main responsibilities were to provide primary, elementary, and secondary education for school age children and technical, vocational, business, and post-secondary programs as well as literacy, upgrading and life skills for adults. In addition, residential accommodations were provided to students continuing their schooling beyond the level provided in their community and funding was provided for students who had to leave the Northwest Territories to pursue higher education. Funding for the education function was provided through financial agreements between the GNWT and the Federal Government.

        Initially education programs were directed from the headquarters in Yellowknife and supported by four regional offices located in Fort Smith, Inuvik, Frobisher Bay (now Iqaluit), and Churchill, Manitoba, then the regional centre for the Keewatin. Headquarters administration was responsible for planning, guidance, curriculum development, recruitment, staff training and administrative support services for the education program. In 1972, the results of an in house Survey of Education were released containing some 200 recommendations from Northwest Territories teachers. These recommendations studied by the Council's Special Committee on Education were considered in developing a new Education Ordinance, which became law on August 1, 1977. The Ordinance, replacing the Federal Ordinance of 1956, emphasized decentralization and devolution by providing more autonomy to regional superintendents and more control to elected local education authorities (LEAs), although the final authority for education remained with the Commissioner. The legislation established three levels of authority responsible for education: 1) Local or Community Education Authorities; 2) Education Societies; and 3) Boards of Education. Local Advisory Boards or Committees existed in many communities prior to creation of the Ordinance, providing primarily an advisory role, though some were responsible for Cultural Inclusion Programs, managing Committee funding, and hiring of local personnel for classroom assistants. The Act passed into law this department policy of community involvement and defined responsibilities. LEAs consisting of 4 elected members and one member appointed by the local municipal council were now responsible for advising the superintendent and the principal on school programs and administration for their education district. The boundaries of an education district usually coincided with the boundaries of a hamlet, town, village or settlement and several education districts comprised each of the five administrative regions of the Northwest Territories. For each region, a regional superintendent, under the advice of LEAs within that region, was responsible for assessing needs, establishing systems for evaluating programs and educators, and implementing education programs within the goals, objectives and standards set by the departmental administration. These regional superintendents were under the overall direction of regional directors. A petition from the community could achieve an Education Society, which was the next level of authority. These societies held greater responsibilities and were in charge of their own budgets, and the hiring and firing of all employees. The third level, autonomous Boards of Education, employed their own staff including a Superintendent of Education. As there was a tax-based financial requirement for the creation of Boards of Education, the boards were limited to the Yellowknife Public School Board, District #1 and the Yellowknife Separate School Board, District #2.

        In 1982, with the formal establishment of Ministerial government in the GNWT, policy was set by the Minister, with the advice of the Deputy Minister in regard to goals, objectives and standards of education. After two years of community consultation, the final report of the Legislative Assembly's Special Committee on Education 'Learning, Tradition and Change in the Northwest Territories' was presented in March of 1982. Recommendations included the provision of further control over education at the community or regional level. An amendment to the Education Ordinance followed in 1983 permitting the formation of Education Divisions, and the creation of Divisional Boards of Education to administer schools within their region. A Divisional Board could be established by the submission of a petition to the minister from CECs or LEAs requesting that a division be formed. The Baffin Region Divisional Board of Education became the first operational divisional board in 1985 and by 1991, there were divisional boards in all regions. These boards were responsible for administration and maintenance of funding, selecting and providing direction to superintendents and teachers, and determining education objectives for each region. Schools lacking a divisional board were grouped into the administration regions under the supervision of the Regional Superintendent of Education and provided with administrative and program support. As Primary to Grade 12 education program delivery was assumed by Divisional and School Boards and advanced education program delivery assumed by the Arctic College Board, the supporting role of the Department of Education's administration changed. More and more direction came from legislation and policy. In 1986, the Arctic College Act was passed, which supplied a statutory basis for college operations and the College Board of Governors that had been appointed in 1982.

        Although divisions, sections and their responsibilities altered with repeated reorganization of the Department of Education, the functions provided can be generally grouped into 4 main activities: Administration, Schools, Continuing, Special and Adult Education, and Pupil Residences.

        1)The Administration activity, later called the Directorate, was responsible for the development and recommendation of education policy to the Minister, and determining goals, objectives and standards. It provided financial management, capital planning, recruitment, staff training, and administrative support services for the total education program. In the early years of the department, administration was also responsible for curriculum development and linguistic services.

        2) The Schools activity was responsible for in-school programs (curriculum) grades 1 to 12, and provision of guidance to the school districts. It was initially responsible for special education and occupational in-school training, functions later handled by the Continuing, Special and Advanced education activity.

        3) Continuing, Special and Advanced Education activity was initially composed of the planning, development and implementation of non-university programming including upgrading, apprenticeship, technical and on-the-job training, life skills, general interest courses and rehabilitation programs for special needs students. Eventually greater focus was placed on advanced education, with the establishment of the Fort Smith Adult Vocational Training Centre, later to evolve into the Arctic College, offering vocational, technical, business programs and academic upgrading courses on campus and through extension programs.

        4) The Pupil Residences activity consisted of the planning, guidance and operation of student residences, as well as supervision and financial support to local boarding houses and private boarding institutions providing student accommodations. Accommodations would be provided for students continuing their education beyond the level provided in their community, and for students whose parents were required to be away for extended periods of time. The residences could be operated either by the GNWT or under contract with the Anglican or Catholic churches. By 1976, the operation of some student residences was being turned over to specially authorized community groups.

        The structure and organization of the Department of Education was altered repeatedly during its existence. In 1977 it was organized into 4 divisions: 1) Recruitment, Personnel and Staff Training; 2) Education programs and Evaluation; 3) Linguistic programs; and 4) Finance, Research and Planning. In 1980, the department restructured into two main branches in response to departmental growth, decentralization, the recommendations of the Committee Task Force on Administration, and a departmental paper 'Direction for 1980's." The branches: 1) Education programs and Evaluation Branch and 2) Support Services Branch were each headed by an Assistant Deputy Minister. The Programs and Evaluation Branch was responsible for needs assessment, program development, and evaluation of all instructional programs for school children and adults. The Support Services Branch was responsible for higher education programs, finance and planning, school buildings, education personnel, legislation and policy development, and student grants and bursaries. Another reorganization in 1985 created: a Policy and Program Evaluation section that was responsible for overall planning and evaluation of education and the co-ordination of legislation and policy development; and combined employment and apprenticeship programs into one division.

        In August of 1992, the Department of Education, amalgamated with programs from the Department of Culture and Communications to create the Department of Education, Culture and Employment.

        Places

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        Related entity

        Northwest Territories. Department of Education, Culture and Employment (1992-present)

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        temporal

        Type of relationship

        Northwest Territories. Department of Education, Culture and Employment (1992-present) is the successor of Northwest Territories. Department of Education (1969-1992)

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        Related entity

        Northwest Territories. Department of Education. Advanced Education division

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        hierarchical

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        Northwest Territories. Department of Education. Advanced Education division is the subordinate of Northwest Territories. Department of Education (1969-1992)

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        Related entity

        Northwest Territories. Department of Education. Education Programs and Evaluation division

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        hierarchical

        Type of relationship

        Northwest Territories. Department of Education. Education Programs and Evaluation division is the subordinate of Northwest Territories. Department of Education (1969-1992)

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        Related entity

        Northwest Territories. Department of Education. School Programs division

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        hierarchical

        Type of relationship

        Northwest Territories. Department of Education. School Programs division is the subordinate of Northwest Territories. Department of Education (1969-1992)

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        Related entity

        Northwest Territories. Department of Education. School Services division

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        hierarchical

        Type of relationship

        Northwest Territories. Department of Education. School Services division is the subordinate of Northwest Territories. Department of Education (1969-1992)

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        Lidster, Echo

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        associative

        Type of relationship

        Lidster, Echo is the employee of Northwest Territories. Department of Education (1969-1992)

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        Related entity

        Federal Day School (Norman Wells, NT)

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        hierarchical

        Type of relationship

        Federal Day School (Norman Wells, NT) is controlled by Northwest Territories. Department of Education (1969-1992)

        Dates of relationship

        1969-1983

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        Related entity

        Federal Day School (Fort Norman, NT)

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        Category of relationship

        hierarchical

        Type of relationship

        Federal Day School (Fort Norman, NT) is controlled by Northwest Territories. Department of Education (1969-1992)

        Dates of relationship

        1969-1980

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