In August 2006, at the invitation of the Department of Education, DEAs from across Nunavut met to discuss the proposed new Education Act.
During the meeting parents discussed what results they wanted to see in the education system. To achieve these results, parents felt that they needed collective representation when key issues affecting schools were discussed, issues such as:
- local control of schools.
- education policy with respect to language of instruction, teacher certification, discipline practices and curriculum.
- approval of school budgets.
- employment of school staff.
Representatives of each DEA broke from the main proceedings to meet as the ‘unofficial collective voice of parents’. The end result of this meeting was the establishment of the Coalition of Nunavut DEAs.
The purpose of the Coalition was to begin the process of developing an organizational capacity, independent of government, to represent the collective voice of parents on education matters.
In a series of teleconferences since the Coalition was established, a number of strategic objectives have been identified. In Inuktitut this plan is referred to as Sivuniksalirijiit (Paving the way).
- Advisory: Establish the Coalition as the third voice in public education by serving as an advisory body on issues of public education policy.
- Advocacy: Establish a capacity for the Coalition to review education laws, policies and practices and provide opinion and perspective from a parents’ point of view.
- Administrative Capacity: Develop an administrative capacity to serve all DEAs and parents by establishing an office, fax/e-mail and website capacity and basic administrative support.
- Networking: Foster increased and regular contact among DEAs to increase the impact of their collective voice on public education matters.
- Capacity-Building: Identify opportunities to strengthen the capacity of DEAs to identify and voice issues of concern on education matters. Increase the impact of the DEA voice in public education.
- Partnerships: Establish territorial and national partnerships with parents in education.
- Knowledge Management: Develop a resource library for parents containing information on education matters of concern to them.
- Research: Foster opportunities to pursue research on education matters in Nunavut including baseline information based on parent surveys.