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Nunavut spending far less than Yukon or Northwest Territories on education

CBC NewsEye on the Arctic
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A report from Statistics Canada shows that the eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut spends significantly less on students than the Northwest Territories (NWT) or Yukon Territory.

In the 2008-2009 school year, Nunavut spent $15,428 per student in kindergarten to grade 12. That’s far above the Canadian average of $11,044, but also far below the amounts spent on students in NWT and Yukon. Governments there spent $22,784 and $19,499 per student, respectively.

“That’s something that I can’t explain. That’s their information, but it is intriguing and there’s no doubt that there’s a story there -- and we do like to explore and communicate across the territories,” said Brad Chambers, the director of policy and planning with Nunavut’s Department of Education.

The numbers are supposed to reflect all money spent on education, from the costs of paper and desks, to teachers’ salaries and policy work. Chambers said someone from the department will explore the data.

The report also shows what percentage of the territories’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was spent on education during the 2008-2009 school year. On average, provinces and territories spent 6.1 per cent on educational institutions, including post-secondary schools and programs.

Nunavut spent about twice that, or 12.2 percent of its GDP. Yukon and the NWT were closer to the Canadian average, with 7.2 percent of Yukon’s GDP going towards education, and 5.7 percent in the NWT.

The report adds that more than 70 per cent of the spending on education in the NWT and Nunavut was for primary and secondary schools.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.