Department of Education, UNESCO sign agreement to expand entrepreneurial community schools program (09/06/03)

NB 776

June 3, 2009

FREDERICTON (CNB) - An innovative instructional approach encouraging students to become interested in entrepreneurism, already available in some francophone schools in New Brunswick, will be made available to the rest of Canada and to other countries under a landmark agreement signed today.


Education Minister Kelly Lamrock and David A. Walden, secretary-general of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Science and Cultural Organization), signed the agreement to expand the entrepreneurial community schools (ECS) program. The provincial government and UNESCO both described this agreement as a Canadian first.

"I have seen all the benefits of this concept for our young people, who are encouraged to demonstrate a high degree of autonomy, ingenuity, creativity, innovation, and community engagement," said Lamrock. "They also benefit from learning approaches that help them to perform better in literacy, math, science, and other basic subjects. Developing entrepreneurial individuals between kindergarten and Grade 12 is one of the keys to our achieving self-sufficiency."

The ECS approach is designed to develop an entrepreneurial spirit within children, starting at an early age. Children are given the opportunity to pursue independent learning and develop a conscious sense of entrepreneurship. In other words, the ECS approach strives to help each student become a child entrepreneur.

"In the past three years, our government has been encouraging innovation and new ways of learning," said Lamrock. "As with the last agreement with Microsoft, this new partnership confirms that New Brunswick is now recognized globally for its educational innovations. The ECS concept could be reproduced in the countries of the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa, and Southeast Asia. We can celebrate this success very proudly."

It will be possible to extend the ECS approach around the world through the Associated Schools Project Network and the network of 193 UNESCO national commissions.

"UNESCO has always made an effort to promote a particular concept of the building of knowledge societies," said Walden. "UNESCO's Associated Schools Project, of which Canada has been a member for approximately 10 years, and the ECS are a perfect illustration of this. Under this agreement, we hope to be able to open inclusive, equitable, and participatory knowledge societies.

"Published in 1996 but still relevant, the report of the International Commission on Education for the 21st Century, also known as the Delors Report, contributed to this reflection. Lifelong learning is based on four pillars of education: learning to know, learning to do, learning to live together, and learning to be. This statement has a universal and timeless validity."

The Canadian Commission for UNESCO operates under the aegis of the Canada Council for the Arts. It acts as a forum for governments and civil society; and it mobilizes the participation of Canadian organizations and committed individuals in UNESCO's mandated areas: education, natural and social sciences, culture and communications and information.


MEDIA CONTACTS: Johanne Le Blanc, communications, Department of Education, 506-444-4714; Alysouk Lynhiavu, co-ordinator, national secretariat, Associated Schools Project Network, UNESCO, 613-295-9560.