Training equals success
Campaign launched to make train northerners teachers

Dane Gibson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Feb 18/00) - A Canada-wide shortage of teachers is developing. To combat that, the GNWT is looking to its own backyard to train students to teach.

"We want to make it clear to Northerners that teaching is an extremely satisfying and rewarding career. And in the North, we have an excellent teacher-training program available at Aurora College," said Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) minister Jake Ootes (left).

The multimedia campaign will include posters, newspaper and radio advertising, and a video. The effort is designed to increase the number of Northerners who choose teaching as a career.

The messages being delivered will shine a light on the Aurora College Teacher Education training program.

Once a student completes the three-year program, they can teach up to grade 9 in the NWT. ECE wants more students to take advantage of the course because with only one more year of study at the University of Saskatchewan, Aurora graduates can earn a Bachelor of Education degree and the right to teach anywhere.

"We are proud of the role (our teaching program) has played in the North since it began in 1968," said Aurora College chairperson Danny Yakeleya.

"We have built a respected program that produces qualified teachers."

NWT Teachers' Association president Pat Thomas is supportive of the campaign, but said working conditions and housing issues, especially in small communities, must be addressed to ensure the qualified teachers produced here stay here.

"I welcome this program. It's important to have Northerners teaching in the NWT and we do receive rewards other than a compensation package to be teachers here," said Thomas.

"However, it's important to note that Northern teachers must be compensated adequately for their efforts and the package we offer them must be competitive enough to keep our graduates in the NWT."