Officials from NWT’s education department called on to explain problems to Standing Committee on Government Operations

(File photo/CKLB).

Officials from the Office of the Auditor General and the NWT’s Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) are to appear before the Legislative Assembly’s Standing Committee on Government Operations on April 1.

The committee will be conducting a public hearing on the auditor’s report on early childhood to Grade 12 education in the Northwest Territories, which was tabled in the Legislative Assembly on February 6, 2020.

This follows a scathing report from the auditor on the education system in the territory including the fact that the education department fudges its graduation numbers.

A news release states that that ECE is responsible to plan, support and monitor the delivery of education programs and services that are equitable, inclusive and reflect Indigenous languages and cultures, to support improved student outcomes.

Overall, the audit found that ECE’s actions fell short of meeting all its commitments and obligations, and it did not know whether its efforts were improving student outcomes.”  The audit also found that “the department did not determine what needed to be done to ensure that students in small communities had equitable access to education programs and services, compared with students in regional centres and Yellowknife” and that it “did not take sufficient steps to collect and use data to understand how it might make changes to address persistent gaps in student outcomes.”

“These findings are troubling to Members of the Standing Committee because it is our children who will ultimately pay the price for shortcomings in the Northwest Territories’ education system,” said Standing Committee Chair Frieda Martselos.

The Standing Committee is mandated to review the reports of the Auditor General of Canada and will produce its own report in follow-up to the public hearing.

The committee is particularly interested in assessing the actions planned by the department in response to the audit.

The review will take place in Committee Room “A” of the Legislative Assembly building in Yellowknife at 9:00 a.m.

The report can be found on the Legislative Assembly website at under the heading Tabled Documents.

The document number is TD 11-19(2).

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.