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Curriculum change a long way off: Minister Simpson

Education Minister R.J. Simpson says the NWT is a long way away from changing its curriculum. 

Simpson says the education department has been working on the process for a year. 

The Office of the Auditor General released a report in 2019 which said that the NWT’s education system needed a revamp in several areas. 

Earlier this week, there were claims from the Alberta NDP that the NWT was going to change from the Alberta curriculum to that used in British Columbia.  

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This comes after changes to the Albertan curriculum that would see schools minimize teaching about residential schools, among other things.

But in an email statement sent on Tuesday, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment said the GNWT has not made any decisions yet regarding the use of Alberta curriculum or any other jurisdictions’ curriculum.

“We are in the very early stages of seeing what is out there. Alberta is renewing its curriculum now. B.C. has a modern curriculum,” he says.

“The Yukon uses that curriculum. There are other curriculum developments across Canada, and it’s incumbent upon us to ensure that whatever curriculum we use is right for the people of the Northwest Territories.”

Simpson says the reason the NWT doesn’t have its own curriculum is because it’s too expensive. But it has developed some courses, like a northern studies course which focus on issues in the NWT. 

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“We have to partner with another jurisdiction just for [the] fact that it is too expensive. That is not to say that we do not have a lot of our own curriculum,” said Simpson. 

“We have a junior kindergarten curriculum that is really world class, and other jurisdictions in Canada have approached us about it.”

Simpson said the GNWT still has to consult with Indigenous governments and school boards. A final decision won’t be ready until the beginning of 2022. 

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