GNWT releases five-year evaluation report on Education Renewal

News Releases

Yellowknife — February 7, 2020

The GNWT Department of Education, Culture and Employment (ECE) has released its first five-year evaluation report on the Education Renewal and Innovation (ERI) initiative for junior kindergarten (JK) to grade 12 education in the Northwest Territories (NWT).

The 10-year ERI initiative was launched in 2013 to address identified gaps in student achievement and other challenges in the education system. ERI has introduced 45 initiatives focused on student-centered learning, student and educator health and wellness, quality education, the needs of small communities, flexibility in curriculum, assessment and accountability, and partnerships with Indigenous governments and organizations.

This evaluation report reviewed 9 of 45 initiatives under the ERI Framework to see how these initiatives are working to improve outcomes for students across the NWT.

Evaluators found encouraging results and early successes in a number of areas. The report recommends continuing a number of promising programs, including Northern Distance Learning, to ensure equitable education in small communities, and Child and Youth Care Counsellors, to continue supporting students’ health and wellness.

The evaluation also identified where additional work is needed to address remaining gaps in student achievement and outcomes, especially for small communities.

Key recommendations include prioritizing ERI commitments to focus on schools in small communities, including reviewing the current funding approach and working more closely with Indigenous governments, education leaders and families on present and future initiatives.

A full list of recommendations can be found in the Executive Summary.

Although distinct from the recent report on education tabled by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG), the ERI evaluation report mirrors many of the findings of the audit, indicating that the GNWT has provided a fair analysis of its own systems. The ERI evaluation report has also given the department the opportunity to immediately responding to known challenges within the education system.

The results of both the evaluation and audit will inform changes to education renewal and innovation over the next five years to ensure continued improvements to student outcomes in the NWT.


“The first five years of Education Renewal and Innovation have shown promising results in the areas of student achievement and wellness, while providing important insights into remaining gaps and challenges in the NWT education system, especially for our smallest communities. The results of this evaluation will be essential in informing how we continue to work with our education partners, families, leaders and experts to improve experiences and outcomes for students in every community of the Northwest Territories. Education is a way to change the fortunes of the territory but only when we work together.”

- R.J. Simpson, Minister of Education, Culture and Employment

Quick Facts:

  • The Education Renewal and Innovation Framework: Directions for Change was released in 2013 and serves as the roadmap for transforming the NWT education system to improve student experiences and outcomes.
  • The end of the 2018-19 fiscal and school years marked the end of the first five years of the ERI Framework implementation.
  • The ERI evaluation assessed the early implementation and results of the initiative to determine if the department is on track to achieve proposed changes, and to inform amendments moving forward.
  • Specific initiatives reviewed by the evaluation include:
  1. Residential School Awareness Training
  2. Child and Youth Care Counselling and Northern Therapeutic Counselling Services
  3. Strengthening Teacher Instructional Practices
  4. Career Focusing
  5. Northern Distance Learning
  6. Health and Wellness Curriculum
  7. Our Languages Curriculum
  8. Systemic assessment practices
  9. Reporting requirements

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Trista Haugland

Media and Communications Coordinator
Government of the Northwest Territories
Ph: 867-767-9140 ext. 11092