The Northern Teacher Education Program (NORTEP) was intitiated in 1976 by the Northern Lights School Division #113 to facilitate access to teacher education and certification for northerners, particularly those of Aboriginal ancestry. At the time, there was less than 1% of Aboriginal Teachers in the north and the teacher turn-over rate was very high. NORTEP has developed into a well established program offering a unique delivery model combining academic theory on campus in La Ronge with practical experience in the schools throughout the north. Students attending the program come from over forty communities across northern Saskatchewan.
Initially NORTEP was designed to offer courses to Native language instructors and teacher aides. In the beginning NORTEP offered a three year Standard A Certificate. NORTEP now offers a four year Bachelor of Education program. Education students may attend a fifth year of studies to obtain a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in addition to their Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.). NORTEP-NORPAC now offers a Graduate Degree in Curriculum Instruction and Administration for teachers in northern Saskatchewan.
Preparing northerners to teach in northern Saskatchewan has significantly improved the retention rate of teachers. To date the program has graduated 400 individuals with over 91% teaching in the north.
The Northern Professional Access College (NORPAC) was founded in 1989, in response to the demands of northern communities for a program similar to that of NORTEP. NORPAC offers a one to three year arts and science program leading to further studies in their discipline. Upon completion of three years in NORPAC students can transfer into the NORTEP program and graduate as teachers. NORPAC graduates have successfully secured employment in the fields of health, commerce, industry, arts, administrations, social work and or law.
NORTEP-NORPAC purchased two apartment blocks, for a total of forty-eight one, two and or three bedroom apartment units to provide accommodation to students attending the program. Also in the past six years from 2015 we constructed sixteen condo units with four and five bedroom units to accommodate students with large families. Students rent these apartments at a subsidized rate.
The demand for low income housing for students attending the program have lead NORTEP-NORPAC to purchase where two apartment block within walking distance from the NORTEP-NORPAC campus.