DEA rejects offer
District Education Authority says no to scholarship for Inuit

Maria Canton
Northern News Services

IQALUIT (Oct 18/99) - A proposed scholarship for Inuksuk high school is being refused because it discriminates based on the race of students, says the chair of Iqaluit's District Education Authority.

The scholarship, proposed by the Town of Iqaluit, would see one Grade 12 Inuk student awarded $1,000 to put towards post- secondary education.

"(The DEA's) position is that we don't award or leave out one group of students based on their race," said Kathy Smith.

"We award the students based on their skills and at our awards ceremonies we have a good cross-section of all students -- it's a very fair playing board."

However, several councillors couldn't understand why the DEA would reject monies offered to them.

"I don't understand why (the DEA) wouldn't accept any scholarship offered to the schools," said councillor Doug Lem.

"This one is to promote our Inuit Resource Strategy and we're considering another scholarship for other students. We hope the DEA will support this because our intentions are good."

And although Smith said the school appreciated the offer, she put forward several alternative suggestions for scholarships.

"We have more students drop out at the Grade 10 level than the Grade 12 level and there are many generous grants and loans at the Grade 12 level," she said.

"We think if we had something to encourage Grade 10 students it would be more effective than for senior students."

Smith also suggested a councillor sit on the DEA board to foster a better working relationship between the two bodies.

"Traditionally, we have had a councillor on our board," she said.

"And right now we have one seat open, perhaps a councillor would be interested in taking that seat."

The schools offer comprehensive scholarships and awards to students based on their skills, academic achievement, attendance, effort and social activities.

Mayor Jimmy Kilabuk, who used to sit on the DEA when he was a council member, thought the idea was very good and encouraged his councillors to consider the offer.