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More access to literacy programs for adult learners throughout B.C.

More access to literacy programs for adult learners throughout B.C.

September 9, 2019 at 9:28 am  BC, News, Politics

Adults in British Columbia will be able to develop stronger reading, writing and math skills in more than 80 local communities with an investment in Community Adult Literacy Programming (CALP).

“Our government is investing in programs that break down barriers to empower people to be more active members in their communities,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “We know that it’s critically important for people to have literacy and numeracy skills to complete simple daily tasks like cooking, attending medical appointments and applying for work. I applaud these community organizations that are the unsung heroes that open doors and create pathways for all British Columbians.”

Mark was joined by literacy partners at Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House and Shane Simpson, MLA for Vancouver-Hastings, as she announced $2.4 million to be shared among 94 community adult literacy programs that are run by 69 different service providers.

Post-secondary institutions work with community literacy providers to connect adult learners with the skills they need to build a strong future for themselves, their families and their community. These partnerships support improved learning outcomes and encourage people to transition from community programs to post-secondary studies.

“The partnership between post-secondary institutions and literacy providers, supported by provincial funding like this, brings valuable adult education into communities throughout B.C.,” said Jocelyne Hamel, executive director of Mount Pleasant Neighborhood House. “Literacy opens doors for skill and career-development and employment options, and enriches the lives of individuals and families, allowing them to fully participate in their community.”

Programming includes a variety of learning opportunities, including one-on-one tutoring and small group instruction, and supports all levels of literacy from basic to high school completion level. For many adult learners, literacy programs are an important first step in an educational journey to post-secondary studies.

The government’s support of community-based literacy programs is part of its commitment to connect people with the education and training they need to succeed. On Aug. 8, 2017, the Province made adult upgrading and English language learning programs in B.C. tuition-free.

Quotes:

Shane Simpson, MLA for Vancouver-Hastings –

“These adult literacy programs are helping British Columbians get the skills they need to achieve their educational goals and participate fully in society. Strong literacy skills are essential for those people looking to upgrade their education, and through this funding adult learners all over B.C. will gain essential skills and the confidence to pursue their interests.”

William Booth, Downtown Eastside literacy roundtable –

“Reading, writing and numeracy skills, in addition to digital literacy, are all tools that can open up opportunities for adult learners. These tools give people the ability to be more involved with their families and within their communities, helping to eliminate social exclusion. We are grateful for the Province’s continued funding of community adult literacy programming and family literacy initiatives.”

Quick Facts:

  • Grants of up to $30,000 per program are awarded to community adult literacy organizations to deliver Indigenous, adult and family literacy programs. These community programs help British Columbians develop stronger reading, writing and math skills.
  • Most programs offer one-on-one tutoring or small-group classes delivered by trained volunteers and are delivered in a variety of settings, such as schools, non-profit organizations and Indigenous friendship and community centres.
  • The difference between adult literacy and Adult Basic Education programs is that the community literacy programs are informal and non-credit literacy and numeracy, life skills and employment preparation programs delivered in the community so students feel at home and more comfortable. Quite often they precede the pursuit of adult upgrading programs.
  • More than 700,000 British Columbians are estimated to have significant literacy challenges. 45% of adults in B.C. have some difficulty with daily living tasks due to limited literacy skills. Literacy challenges can include difficulty understanding newspapers, reading health information and following instruction manuals.
  • 52% of adults in B.C. have difficulty in accomplishing some daily living tasks due to limited numeracy skills. Numeracy challenges can include difficulty calculating interest on a car loan, using information on a graph or calculating medicine dosage.

A backgrounder follows.

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