Wednesday, March 19, 1997

Sir John needs retro-fit

Sir John Franklin high school does not need to be rebuilt, at least not in this economic climate.

What it does need, however, is a multi-million dollar retro-fit to bring it into line with the social, academic and electronic needs of today's students and teaching staff.

This means the school must be redesigned on the inside so that it has plenty of open space for socialization, proper lab space and facilities, and all of the wiring, fixtures and connections needed to ensure its students are not left behind in this wired world.

And that redesign must include contingency plans for when the wired systems need to be enhanced in the not so distant future.

Don't be fooled by a case of envy that may have crept into Yellowknife's public school boardroom since the Catholic school board erected St. Patrick High School.

Sure, St. Patrick is state of the art in every way, but does state of the art always make a better school?

We think it's the folks and atmosphere within the school that make for the best academic and social setting in which to achieve.

And while St. Patrick high does continue to draw students away from Sir John, there are still just so many high school students in the city and the rate of enrolment, according to recent school board statistics, isn't expected to increase dramatically.

The territorial government, however, should not waste any more time in making a decision on what to do with Sir John.

Students and staff deserve the retro-fit that was agreed to by the GNWT in 1995 when it handed over Sir John's keys to the school board.

If Yellowknife is intent on keeping two separate school boards with separate high schools, it is imperative that the retro-fit be undertaken as soon as possible. The focus should be on education, not keeping up with the Catholics. ( 3/19/97 )

Insulting failure

Yellowknife South MLA Seamus Henry calls the affirmative action policy an insult to target groups. The largest insult is that the stupid policy doesn't work.

The numbers of aboriginal government employees is dropping but that doesn't stop people complaining they can't get jobs because they are "giving them all to the Indians!"

Yellowknife North MLA Roy Erasmus blames nepotism and discrimination in government hiring practices.

That's precisely why qualified Northerners, both aboriginal and non-aboriginal, have trouble getting work with their government.

It's an insult to us all. ( 3/19/97 )

Jobs, jobs, jobs

In an era that will be remembered for nothing so much as cutbacks, the territorial government has found $4 million to put our young people to work.

It's hard to find anything to criticize in the new program, which is designed for both summer and long-term employment.

Meanwhile, the federal Business Development Bank wants to do its part to foster young entrepreneurs, including those in the NWT.

One could almost say a wave of good will is sweeping the country's powers that be, at least on this one vital subject.

And one thing we know for sure is that for students to be anywhere near competitive in the job market once they reach the "real world," they will need real experience. ( 3/19/97 )