In order to make Canada’s claim for sovereignty over the North feasible, Jean expressed the need to create an Arctic university. The inclusion of northerners with their own expertise for activities and issues relevant to the Arctic would increasingly foster the development of the Canadian north.
Inspired by the University of Tromsø, the world’s northernmost university, Gov. Gen. Jean wishes to overcome the demographic challenges especially in Nunavut, where merely 25% of the youth gain a high-school diploma – the lowest high-school graduation rate in Canada – and make higher education feasible. By establishing a satellite campus system, Gov. Gen. Jean wishes to create a university which would serve about 100.000 people in three Canadian territories.
The idea is not without resistance, however. Departmental spokeswoman at Indian and Northern Affairs Canada Patricia Valladao emphasizes that the three northern territorial colleges closely work together in order to deliver programmes to the University of the Arctic, which enables more northerners to access post-secondary education than an actual university would do.
The original press release from Edmonton Sun can be found here