The mayors of the three communities hosting Aurora College campuses – Inuvik, Fort Smith and Yellowknife – are calling on the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) to develop a better framework for post-secondary education in the Northwest Territories (NWT), specifically in regards to establishing a polytechnic university in the North.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Jan. 15, the collective wrote that the lack of a university presence in the NWT results in missed opportunities, such as attracting academics and students living outside of the North, as well as the ability to advance the academic, social and economic advantages for those who live in the North.
“We are united in seeking to advance a post-secondary education framework with a governance model that reflects academic best practices and is arms-length from government,” the statement reads. “This framework must incorporate a range of interests while providing a collaborative path forward. At this time, we look forward to seeing the implementation plan, with key milestones, that will advance this transformation of post-secondary education.”
Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty stated that advanced post-secondary opportunities in the NWT “that can inspire social, economic and educational development in our communities and across the NWT is a win for all Northerners.”
By building on the successes of Inuvik’s Aurora Campus and Aurora Research Institute, Inuvik Mayor Natasha Kulikowski stated “the new polytechnic university would enhance the education, research and development opportunities available while ensuring the residents of Inuvik, the Beaufort Delta Region and the NWT can remain among the innovators.”
Through consultation with communities and students across the NWT, Fort Smith Mayor Lynn Napier-Buckley stated that building a shared vision of post-secondary education is critical.
“Prioritizing a quality, accessible education that builds on our community learning centres, campus communities, research centres, and headquarters is attainable and sustainable, and we are excited to continue being partners in this growth,” Napier-Buckley’s statement reads.