Population: 43,672
Number of K-12 Schools: 49
Number of K-12 Students: 8367
Number of K-12 E-Learning Programs: 1
Number of K-12 E-Learning Students: 81

Note that these profiles are taken from the most recent edition of the report, please review additional annual profiles below.

K-12 E-Learning Programs

At present the Beaufort Delta Education Council eLearning Program, which the Department of Education, Culture and Employment has been piloting over the past few years, is the primary provider of e-learning in the Northwest Territories.   During the 2015-16 school year, 51 students were enrolled in one or more of the eight courses it offered.  The territorial government have actually made the development of and support for this pilot project a priority over the next four years, with the published mandate of the Minister of Education, Culture and Employment stating that “expanding the NWT distance learning pilot project to increase access for NWT senior secondary students in all communities” was one of his commitments (p. 2).

Additionally, there were still 31 students enrolled in distance learning courses offered through the Alberta Distance Learning Centre.

Governance and Regulation

The Education Act, 2009 allows various educational bodies to “authorize, supervise and evaluate the use of distance learning programs in the provision of the education program” (p. 72).

Since 2004, the Department of Education, Culture and Employment has had a Memorandum of Understanding with the Alberta Distance Learning Centre for Northwest Territories students to use their courses and, since 2010, the regional boards of education took on the funding of these courses.

Finally, Section 3.3 of the Northwest Territories School Handbook outlines a series of requirements that schools must adhere to in order to participate in distance learning.

Previous Provincial Profiles

History of K-12 E-Learning

The Northwest Territories (NWT) have always had close secondary and post-secondary ties to Alberta. Since mid-2000 the NWT had used the Alberta Distance Learning Centre versions of their secondary courses for high school students who did not have access to these courses in their small community high schools, or have schedule conflicts in their brick and mortar settings.

In 2011, the Beaufort Delta Education Council (a regional board of education known as ‘BDEC’) took the initiative to bring high school programming to some remote communities through use of teleconferencing and email files. This approach was chosen because the bandwidth to those communities was at dial-up speed. Within just a few years the technology and bandwidth improved enough to include screen sharing with telephone audio.

Concurrent with these efforts, the Department of Health and Social Services in partnership with the Federal Government developed the use of videoconferencing units for tele-speech service in each community with units deployed in both the school and health centers. This involved improvements to the NWT’s digital community network (DCN) and the purchasing of a video bridge service.

BDEC decided to make greater use of the videoconferencing units to better develop the relationships between all participants in the distance learning program. With the units online all day long for classes, it was determined quite quickly that the DCN could not sustain the video quality of service required for ongoing use in this fashion.

Since 2011, BDEC has been partnering with the Department of Education Culture and Employment to develop their ‘elearning’ program. In 2013, BDEC decided to purchase the use of an external network that could meet the demands of day-long synchronous learning. The network facilitates live ‘face to face relationship building’ communications through the facilitation of a local support person dedicated full time to students at each participating site. All courses, learning materials and resources are managed through the learning management system Moodle. The three participating boards of education have agreed to harmonize their calendars during this pilot.


Individual Program Survey Responses

Program Most recent response  Medium  # of Students  # of Teachers  # of Courses 
BDEC eLearning
2015-16 Correspondence
Instructional Television
51 4 part time 8

To update this information, visit http://tinyurl.com/sotn-program-survey

Inter-provincial and International

If a student in the Northwest Territories were to take a distance education course from any provider in the Province of Alberta it would be accepted by the Department of Education, Culture and Employment as the territories follow the Alberta curriculum.  However, if the student were to complete a distance education course from any other jurisdiction it would have to be evaluated by a “Special Cases” committee before credit could be granted.

Students from outside of the Northwest Territories are not eligible to enroll in the territories’ distance education programs.