Clusters and Connections: Factors that Contribute to Inuit Dropout

The various factors that contribute to Inuit dropout can be clustered together to form four major groups with a fifth group to include extraneous factors. The overlapping circles in this diagram represent the interaction of the factors. Students who choose to dropout are often influenced by a combination of factors. Even so, any one of those factors can lead a student to dropout.

The next step in making positive changes is to consider the factors to dropout with respect a plan of action. Usually a community decides to work on a few key areas to build awareness and momentum on an issue. Prioritizing the factors is an important step in community development.

Link to Factors that Contribute to Dropout - Visual Site Map








Where's the Connection?

The clusters above are grouped together according to their connections. For example, the factors under the title CULTURE deal with issues steming from cultural differences between the mainstream society and the Inuit. Different backgrounds, cultural discontinuity, lack of relevance, loss of cultural identify, and insensitivity to culture result from problems that occur when dominate, non-Native culture drives education. Pregnancy is grouped in this cluster because in the mainstream society, early pregnancy and high fertility may be seen as a problem, but for another culture, it may seem perfectly normal and not a problem; this makes pregnancy a cultural variable and not independent of culture. As well large schools are often seen as reasonable for efficiency and other values that the mainstream cultures embrace; in other cultures, the advantages of large schools do not outweigh the disadvantages. This Culture cluster contains fundamental factors to dropout that will take much time and effort to remedy.

Linked closely to CULTURE is POVERTY. The poverty cluster includes socioeconomic status; many families in the north in the need of social assistance. These families rely on government help because they are unable to get work because a lack of positions or due to low skills and abilities. Such families are often subject to low parental support and poor parenting skills. Children in families with money difficulties may have increased home responsibilities which is a factor to dropout.

In the COMMUNICATION cluster, the factors are connected by common communication difficulties like language, literacy, misunderstanding, and overgeneralization of stereotypes. Due to problems in communication (language differences, poor literacy), poor home-school contact occurs. Uncaring and untrained teachers have difficulties communicating learning objectives to students and will also have difficulties communicating with parents. COMMUNICATION problems occur when there is a lack of understanding of people of different cultures and of poor people. People are unable to value the needs and attitudes, values etc of other people.

Where there is poor communication, MOTIVATION is low. The cluster titled, MOTIVATION includes passive teaching and inappropriate curriculum; schools are unable to get students interested in school topics when communication in ineffective. Student who do not succeed in school may have negative school experiences due to a negative school climate or structure. They may feel alienated from the school experience which results in POOR ATTENDANCE and MENTAL, EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL ISSUES that lead to dropout.

It is important to find relationships between the clusters in order to understand the interaction of the factors can impact students. Without an in-depth study of the situation in Taloyoak, it is impossible at this time to conclude which of the many factors are most at work in the dropout problem at Netsilik School. Such a study needs to encompass the whole community including the school, community members, parents, business sector, students and government agencies. All members of the Inuit society can work towards reducing Inuit youth dropout.