About our school board

The Kativik School Board has come a long way since 1978 when only an elementary education was available in cramped community schools. Today, Kindergarten through Secondary V is offered in every community, and program development is ongoing in the Board’s three official languages. Students have the option of studying in English or French, and study Inuit culture and language (Inuktitut) throughout their schooling. Our schools are state-of-the-art.

The Kativik School Board is working on creating more ways for all children to learn based on their aptitude and the needs of the community. Many students choose the academic route to enable them to study at the post-secondary level. Alternative education programs have been implemented for youth in danger of dropping out of school.

Students in the Individualized Pathways of Learning (IPL) Program discover talents in themselves that aren’t nurtured through the regular academic stream. The program focuses on developing life skills and work skills through job simulations, small business creation and work placement projects in order to help students successfully enter the workplace. Many of these students have developed small community businesses which have been recognized by regional and national school/business entrepreneurial awards.

Students who are profoundly handicapped are no longer isolated but are supported in their home community through our Special Education Program. Post-secondary Student Services enables students to study at the college and university levels, while the Adult Education Department provides upgrading and vocational and technical training within Nunavik. Our Teacher Training Department continues to train Inuit teachers to meet provincial standards

The Kativik School Board was created by the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement in 1975 to serve the people living in the 14 communities of Nunavik, and to empower the Inuit to take control over their own education. In 1978 the official transfer to the Kativik School Board of the students, school staff and property of the former federal and provincial school systems took place.

The Kativik School Board is governed by a Quebec provincial law entitled “The Education Act for Cree, Inuit and Naskapi Native Persons”. It has the exclusive jurisdiction in Nunavik to provide pre-school, elementary, secondary and adult education, and the responsibility to develop programs and teaching materials in Inuktitut, English and French; train Inuit teachers to meet provincial standards; and encourage, arrange and supervise post-secondary education.

Kativik School Board programs must meet the objectives prescribed by the Quebec Ministry of Education. However, the content and language levels have been adapted for Inuit second language learners.

The Kativik School Board receives its operating funds from both the province of Quebec (75%) and the federal government (25%), with all monies channelled through Quebec and administered by the Board.

The non-ethnic Kativik School Board has one school in each of the 14 communities. The schools vary in size from a regular sector student population of 55 to 500. Grade levels from Kindergarten to Secondary V (including vocational education) are offered in every community. Pre-Kindergarten will eventually be offered throughout Nunavik.

Due to the size of most schools, the small student populations and the trilingual programming and staffing, most classes are multi-level, with two to three grades per class.

Teachers hired by the Kativik School Board for the regular and adult sectors must be legally qualified to teach in Quebec or Canada. Certification is an asset for vocational teachers, but it can be compensated by relevant work experience in the appropriate field.

The language of instruction
 from Kindergarten to Grade 2 inclusive is Inuktitut, the mother tongue. In Grade 3, parents are given the choice of having their children placed in English or French immersion. (The beginning of second language instruction may vary according to the community’s choice.) The percentage of children whose parents elect to place them in the Kativik School Board French sector has increased regularly since 1978. Registration in the French primary sector now surpasses that in the English primary sector.

The Inuit culture and language continue to be taught throughout primary and secondary school. Physical education and religion are also taught in Inuktitut. As well, the Kativik School Board has begun to actively pursue the goal of balanced bilingualism in which Inuktitut is given predominant status.

Balanced bilingualism can only be achieved if students acquire a strong base in Inuktitut before they move into second language learning. Research results from other parts of the world have shown that students who spend more time learning in their mother tongue achieve excellent academic results in both first and second languages.

The Kativik School Board is internally governed by a Council of Commissioners who are elected by their respective communities for a three-year term. An Executive Committee, elected annually by the Council, is responsible for overseeing the management of the Board. At the administrative level, the staff of the School Board functions under the Director General, the chief executive officer. Local school administrators called Centre Directors serve as the day-to-day administrative link between the community and the Board’s central office. Locally-elected Education Committees comprised of parents serve as advisory bodies to the Council of Commissioners, in addition to being given certain powers at the community level.

The mutual dependency of the Education Committees and the Council of Commissioners also creates a system for ongoing and up-to-date consultation on all issues relating to education.

In partnership with parents, the communities and other education stakeholders, the mission statement of the Kativik School Board is:

To provide the people of Nunavik with educational services that will guide and enable all learners to develop the qualities, skills and abilities that are necessary to achieve their well-being and self-actualization

Principles of Education

• The right to education
Inuit control of Inuit education
Culturally responsive curriculum
The importance of other languages
Partnership between students, parents, and the community
The primary importance of Inuktitut
High achievement in education
Equity (equal education opportunities)
Flexibility to adapt to changing conditions
A safe learning environment
The need for lifelong learning
Physical, intellectual, and emotional development
Research as a basis for making informed decisions
Management – Responsible direction and support

Objectives of Education:

• Students are expected to acquire the knowledge and develop the essential skills and attitudes to become self-sufficient, valued, contributing members of their community.
Students are expected to have mastery of Inuktitut.
Students are expected to achieve proficiency in other languages.
Students are expected to develop an appreciation for their culture and a strong sense of identity as well as respect for other cultures.

Kativik School Board’s Unique Powers and Responsibilities

The Kativik School Board is governed by the provincial Education Act for Cree, Inuit and Naskapi Native Persons, except where this law is inconsistent with Section 17 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, in which case Section 17 of the Agreement prevails.

The Kativik School Board (KSB) has unique powers and responsibilities not shared by other school administrations:

  • KSB can enter into agreements concerning post-secondary education.
  • KSB can determine the rate of introduction of the second languages, French and English, Inuktitut being the first language of instruction.
  • KSB can enter into agreements with any other education institution to provide courses.
  • KSB is obliged to develop programs and teaching materials, and provide primary and secondary education in Inuktitut, English and French.
  • The Québec Ministry of Education cannot veto KSB ordinances dealing with Inuit culture and Inuktitut.
  • KSB can establish one or more school calendars, in relation to the particular needs of each community.
  • KSB is responsible for negotiating its own collective agreements for its teachers, professionals and support staff.
  • KSB is responsible for training Inuit teachers to meet provincial standards in its Teacher Training Program.
  • KSB can establish employment criteria for Inuit teachers teaching culture and language.


History of Education in Nunavik