March 2, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - The following message was issued today by Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Donald Arseneault in recognition of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO's sponsorship of International Adult Learners' Week, March 1-7:
New Brunswick's vision for adult literacy in the coming years resonates strongly with this year's International Adult Learners' Week theme, Opening up the possibilities. We are taking action to address the province's significant literacy challenge because we recognize that not only is adult literacy fundamental to the growth and prosperity of our province, it also leads to individual empowerment, greater civic engagement, family education, better physical and emotional health and overall social and cultural development.
Last December, the department launched Working Together: An Adult Literacy Strategy for New Brunswick. This strategy provides overall direction for adult literacy initiatives in partnership with the private and voluntary sectors. The strategy's vision is that New Brunswickers possess the literacy skills they need to participate fully at home, at work and in the community.
In the past year, the department has increased activity in a number of areas which align with the strategy. A new Workplace Essential Skills (WES) Program has been launched with curriculum featuring the nine essential skills identified by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada. WES offers an accelerated process for adults to gain the knowledge and skills they need for work. WES also features two centres of excellence which will provide specialized expertise in support of the program. To date, 33 initiatives are underway with partners in business, labour and the community.
The Community Adult Learning Network (CALNet), which has centres in more than 100 communities, experienced an 11-per-cent increase in the number of learners attending in 2008-09 compared to the previous year. A similar increase in learner numbers is expected in 2009-10. The department continues to support Laubach Literacy, New Brunswick's one-on-one tutoring service, and discussions are underway with La Fédération d'alphabétisation du Nouveau-Brunswick (FANB) to explore development of a similar service in French.
I thank all of our partners for the important contributions they have made. I also thank adult learners who have courageously taken the initiative to return to learning, and I wish you all the best in your continued progress.
The New Brunswick government is pleased to support the Canadian Commission for UNESCO's efforts to promote International Adult Learners' Week 2010 and to contribute to opening up the possibilities for attaining literacy and essential skills and lifelong learning in our province.