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Wanted: Second-hand computers for N.W.T. students

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Kirby Marshall knows outside of the larger, urban centres in the North, not only is access to the internet limited — so is access to computers.

When COVID-19 hit, Marshall said it was clear to him that schools would be one of the first things to shut down. That would mean kids would be learning remotely, posing a challenge for the hundreds of students in the Northwest Territories without a computer.

Marshall, who owns Global Storm IT in Yellowknife, says there are roughly 500 kids in the N.W.T.’s Tlicho and Dehcho regions that don’t have one.

“This is a big problem and it’s one that’s only going to get solved by people working together,” he said during an interview with Lawrence Nayally, host of CBC’s Trail’s End.

Marshall has been reaching out to companies across the North to see if they would be willing to donate any second-hand machines to equip students with the tools they need to continue learning.

According to a press release from Northern News Services Ltd., the media company is donating a drop-off point where they will “log and sanitize your donation” at no cost. The company will also give a free electronic subscription with each computer.

Ile Royale Enterprises Ltd. is also getting involved. According to the release, the company will be providing strategic advice for the program.

Marshall said because of the pandemic, the global supply chain for computers virtually dried up overnight. Factories shut worldwide and people gobbled up what was left of a dwindling stock so they could improve their work-from-home setups.

Hopes to collect 500 computers

Marshall hopes to receive 500 computers. He has about 50 so far. He sanitizes them, wipes their hard drives and installs software used by schools. He plans to start shipping them out next week.

The business owner hopes it will help keep kids in school, even if they can’t physically be in the classroom.

Schools across the territory will remain closed for the remainder of the school year, and Marshall worries that will mean more students will drop out.

Roughly 40 per cent of Grade 11 and 12 students fail or dropout, according to a recent audit of the territory’s education system.

“With the pandemic, those figures are going to go way up,” Willis said.

He said some educators he talked to suggest the numbers could climb to 80 or 90 per cent — or higher.

“That’s unfathomable,” he said.

“They need help. And so let’s all get together and do what we can to help them.”

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Education

B.C. high school drops Rebels sports name linked to American Civil War

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The search is on for a new team name for a high school in B.C.’s Southern Interior.

This week, School District 58 announced that Princeton Secondary School has dropped its longstanding Rebels name, stating it was outdated and “had nothing to do with Canada, for one thing, or our school.”

The reasoning, said the school district, was that the team name was directly linked to the American Civil War.

Read more:
Simon Fraser University athletics commits to dropping ‘Clan’ team name

In an interview with Global News on Saturday, board of education chair Gordon Comeau said new staff “were researching everything out and they came across the fact that the name the Rebels had, at one point in time, been associated with the Confederate flag and the Confederate uniform, and ties, really, to the Confederate cause during the American civil war.

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“And the board felt that these images, although they were used recently and had been for years, they just have no relationship to Canada, for one thing, or our school.

“And nowadays, it’s just not an appropriate thing. We see it all over the news, and we have a policy that’s pretty clear — it’s to raise awareness and improve the understanding of the human race and lives of all people.”






Washington Redskins to undergo review of team name


Washington Redskins to undergo review of team name

Gordon said parents and students were informed of the board’s unanimous decision to drop the name.

The announcement follows recent news that the NFL’s Washington Redskins are looking at changing their name, along with Simon Fraser University committing to dropping its “Clan” team name.

Comeau said the name had been looked at a number of times over the years, but never at the board level, until the past month, adding “with SFU being a good example.”

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Comeau told Global News that the school district is committed to addressing issues when it finds them, “and we found this one.”

He continued, saying “they did find pictures that indicated that some of the uniforms, they did wear a confederate flag as a symbol on their uniform.”






Edmonton Eskimos to keep team name


Edmonton Eskimos to keep team name

Comeau said some school symbols had a cartoonish-style Civil War character carrying a gun, with another being a Confederate hat in front of two swords.

“It’s just not appropriate in this day and age to have that,” said Comeau.

He said the name change will take place in the fall, and will be done through the school, students and stakeholders.

“We’re a very strong mining and lumber community, and there’s lots of wildlife around us,” said Comeau.

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“I’m sure they’ll come up with something that will be very appropriate for their school.”




© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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Lester B. Pearson School Board promises immediate action on racism

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Speaking at a West Island rally against racism, the chair of Lester B. Pearson School Board promised immediate action in light of several racist incidents involving students.

“These incidents were a wake up call for us and a call to action,” said board chair Noel Burke.

Burke spoke to the assembled crowd of young people and community members, saying that the school board would immediately form an anti-racism task force, composed of staff, students and people of colour.

He said the task force’s first report will be ready by Sept 1.

Burke said the Quebec English School Board Association, of which he is a member, will be calling on the Education Ministry to do a curriculum review in order to better represent diversity in all subjects, not just history.

“The Lester B. Pearson School Board acknowledges that systemic racism exists in society, in our communities and in our schools,” said Burke.

“We must take an active role with addressing racism with students and staff.”

More than a hundred people attended the rally outside Pierrefonds Community High School on Saturday afternoon. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

More than 100 people attended the rally outside Pierrefonds Community High School on Saturday afternoon.

The event was organized by Youth Stars, a Montreal non-profit organization serving youth. They said it was a chance for young people to speak out about racism and what changes they want to see.

Malik Shaheed, a director at Youth Stars, spoke to the crowd, saying: “The goal of today’s event is for you to meet your local stakeholders. To let them know how you feel.”

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U.S. immigration to Canada is skyrocketing

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As the U.S. celebrates Independence Day, on the fourth of July, it is worth taking a look at immigration patterns from the U.S. to Canada in recent years.

Over 10,000 U.S. residents immigrated north in 2019 through Canada’s Express Entry system.

This represents a significant increase from the 600 U.S. residents who immigrated through Express Entry in 2015.

Express Entry is the main way that Canada manages skilled worker applications.

Those who are eligible under one of Express Entry’s three immigration programs are graded on their human capital characteristics such as their age, education, language skills, and work experience.

The grading scheme is known as the Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS).

Every two weeks, the federal department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) holds Express Entry draws inviting candidates with the highest CRS scores to apply for permanent residence.

IRCC then aims to process the permanent residence applications of successful candidates within six months.

Express Entry draws have remained ongoing throughout the coronavirus pandemic and Express Entry is off to its fastest start this year since 2017.

Find out if you are eligible for Express Entry

A look at U.S. skilled worker immigration to Canada

The staggering growth of immigrants moving from the U.S. to Canada is likely actually under-stating the extent of the growth.

While Express Entry is the main way for skilled workers to gain Canadian permanent residence, there are other prominent options which are also attracting skilled workers from the U.S.

The most notable is the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

Under Canada’s Constitution, immigration is an area of shared federal and provincial jurisdiction, although the Constitution gives the federal government more power.

Twelve out of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories operate their own immigration programs. Quebec has its own skilled worker system due to its special status within the Canadian federation. The remaining provinces and territories welcome skilled workers through their own PNP streams.

Each province and territory designs their own PNP selection criteria and administer their PNP streams based on their local labour market needs.

Skilled workers arriving from the U.S. also obtain Canadian permanent residence through the PNP.

While some of these individuals are captured in IRCC’s Express Entry data, since a portion of PNP immigrants are processed through Express Entry each year, the available data does not capture all U.S. skilled workers who come to Canada through the PNP, as well as the other federal immigration pathways that the country offers.

Hence, there is a strong chance that the actual number of skilled workers who came to Canada from the U.S. in 2019 is markedly higher than the 10,000 who came through Express Entry.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

Why immigration from the U.S. is rising

Skilled worker immigration from the U.S. is rising for the following reasons.

First, Express Entry has played an increasingly important role in Canada’s skilled worker system since it first launched in 2015. Whereas only 26,000 individuals received an Express Entry invitation to apply (ITA) for permanent residence that year, the figure now stands at over 85,000 annually.

Given that skilled workers from the U.S. have a competitive edge when submitting an Express Entry profile since they are fluent in English, have high levels of education and work experience, a larger number of them in absolute terms are gaining PR through Express Entry.

Canada also launched its Global Skills Strategy in 2017 to help employers in Canada bring foreign tech talent to the country more easily. A key component of the strategy is the Global Talent Stream which enables employers in Canada to bring foreign tech workers in about one month (compared to longer processing times for non-tech workers).

Among those arriving to Canada through the strategy are workers from the U.S. who are then going on to transition to Canadian permanent residence through the likes of Express Entry.

The third major reason is likely the uncertainty surrounding U.S. immigration policy. While the need for foreign workers in the U.S. has continued to increase, political gridlock has made much needed U.S. immigration reform difficult to achieve. As such, many foreign nationals working in the U.S. have made the choice of pursuing permanent residence in Canada.

How to submit an Express Entry profile from the U.S.

If you wish to consider immigrating to Canada, Express Entry is a fairly straightforward process:

Step 1: See if you are eligible for one of the three Express Entry programs. The Federal Skilled Worker Program is likely the most viable option for you if you have not lived in Canada before.

Step 2: Submit an Express Entry profile. As part of this process, all applicants (even if they are native English speakers) must complete an English language test accredited by IRCC. Another key component of this process is obtaining an Educational Credential Assessment.

Step 3: Once you have entered the Express Entry pool, wait to see if you get an ITA for permanent residence. Express Entry draws happen bi-weekly. Another major benefit of entering the pool is you increase your immigration odds since provinces and territories can review your profile and provide you with an invitation through their PNP.

Step 4: If you obtain an invitation, submit your permanent residence application. IRCC aims to process PR applications within 6 months.

Find out if you are eligible for Express Entry

Kareem El-Assal is the Director of Policy & Digital Strategy at CanadaVisa.

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