Adult Learners Week nothing to celebrate in NL
NDP Advanced Education and Skills Critic Dale Kirby (MHA, St. John’s North) says that, as International Adult Learners Week draws to a close, there is little good news in the field to report in this province, thanks largely to recent callous and poorly-considered budget cuts.
Launched by the Canadian Commission for Unesco in 2002, International Adult Learners Week celebrates adult literacy and lifelong learning – two concepts, Kirby says, which seem to be under attack by the provincial government.
“It is ironic that while much of Canada is celebrating the achievements of adult learners, those in this province who are attempting to improve their education are facing the complete privatization of adult basic education, and a forced cut to college programs,” Kirby said.
In addition to the devastation caused to the college system by the budget cuts, Kirby notes government continues to cut libraries, and has, according to Literacy NL, completely abandoned the adult literacy strategy it started to develop in 2008.
“Literacy NL says government is cutting without having a plan for the province,” Kirby said. “And I see no reason to disagree with the organization.”
The founders of International Adult Learners Week understood that the best way to underscore the importance of lifelong learning is to provide adult learners a chance to express their views, explain their challenges, and share their success stories.
Kirby encourages people hurt by the budget cuts, or otherwise affected by government’s disregard for the importance of adult literacy, to contact him.
“I promise every adult learner in Newfoundland and Labrador who feels abandoned by the Dunderdale Conservatives that I will keep up the fight for them to get the education they want so badly,” he said.