Revamped northern teacher training program enters second year
- Morgan Esperance | October 02, 2020
The Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous Teacher Education Program (NSITEP) has reached one year for students in northern and central Sask and the vision to address the teacher shortage is on its way.
Partnering with Gabriel Dumont Institute (GDI) and the University of Regina, NSITEP is delivering an education program. Students who are registered in the ITEP program will receive a Bachelor of Education degree from the U of R.
Morris Cook is the program head of NSITEP, where 26 students are entering their first year and 20 are now in their second. The headquarters is in La Ronge, classes are delivered online as decided by the University of Regina.
“We are located on Treaty 6 territory within the Lac La Ronge Indian Band, homeland of the Metis so both partners have been very supportive and have supported me in every part.” Said Cook.
Cook said he cannot remember any major challenges within the first year because of the support he has had from the partners and the band.
Students who are both Indigenous and Metis are from various areas of northern and central Sask.
“We have students from all across the north,” said Cook.
“Cold Bay to Beauval to Pinehouse and Île-à-la-Crosse and some from the meadow lake area, and some from Battleford…it's not geographic restricted.”
Pre internships and classroom experience were cancelled by the University of Regina due to COVID, Cook said they will catch the students up when the time comes and figure something out if circumstances change.
“With COVID and all, that's been our main focus…we want to make the educational experience as healthy as possible.” Said Cook.
Olivia MacDonald from Pinehouse is a second-year Metis student in the program. She said she enjoys the program because it is very culture based.
"It's hands on because they take us out for the traditional learning, and we get a lot of help from the faculty." said MacDonald.
MacDonald finds it difficult with COVID and not being able to be in the classroom, although she intends to teach in a northern community when she completes the program.
MacDonald encourages the program and said there can be opportunities for help with funding and textbooks.
Cook gives a special recognition to the Advisory Board which holds 3 GDI members and 3 Lac La Ronge Indian Band members for their support in the program. Cook hopes for more students to continue to enroll in the program.
“Hopefully, we’re here for years to come and to address the teachers’ shortage that has always been a concern in the north here for as long as I’ve been here.” Said Cook.