The Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training last week released news that the province is providing $342,390 to the College of New Caledonia to support 16 community adult literacy program partners in the region.
CNC works 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. Literacy providers and post-secondary institutions collaborate to support improved outcomes and encourage transition from programs delivered in the community to post-secondary studies.
Available literacy programs include one-on-one tutoring and small group training for adult learners, often delivered by volunteers. Smaller, community-based literacy programs are well situated to meet the educational needs of adult learners.
Troy Morin, regional principal of the Vanderhoof and Fort St. James campuses, says the college’s Continuing Adult Literacy Program (CALP) provides programs at both campuses, plus some programs in Fraser Lake.
“We couldn’t do these programs without our community partners,” he stresses, saying each campus has a coordinator, who works with volunteers to deliver all types of literacy classes.
“We have adult literacy programs as well as our family literacy program,” says Morin, who says the college also works with aboriginal groups to bring programming to indigenous communities, and especially elders.
Programs in Fort St. James, Vanderhoof and Fraser Lake saw roughly 200-300 people access literacy education in the last year, although Morin says the statistics don’t take into account people who access the programs more than once – so this number will count individuals as many times as they attend the programs.
“We also do programs on computer literacy,” says Morin, pointing out that technology is a big part of literacy these days.
The province says more than 700,000 adults in B.C. have significant challenges with literacy, with 45 per cent of adults in B.C. having 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.
The Ministry also states that 52 per cent 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.
“Delivering literacy and numeracy programs in the community ensures that adult learners feel supported,” said Henry Reiser, president of CNC, in the Ministry of Advanced Education’s press release. “People with stronger literacy skills are more likely to participate in adult education and job-related training.”
In the Nechako Valley region, the province has provided the following funding for adult literacy:The Heart of Learning (Family) – Nechako Valley Community Services Society: $15,532
Community Voices, Neighbourlink – Vanderhoof: $24,800
Plant the Seeds of Literacy (Family) – Fort St. James Public Library: $24,800
Plant the Seeds of Literacy (Adult) – Fort St. James Public Library: $24,800
Plant the Seeds of Literacy (Indigenous) – Nak’azdli Band-Social Development Department in Fort St. James: $24,800
Community Voices – Vanderhoof Public Library: $24,000