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NEWS RELEASE · 26th April 2010
Ministry of Advanced Education
The Province is affirming its commitment to education for all learners by proclaiming the week of April 26 to May 2, 2010 International Adult Learners' Week, announced Advanced Education and Labour Market Development Minister Moira Stilwell.

"One of our government's goals is to make B.C. the most literate jurisdiction in North America," said Stilwell. "By supporting adult education and lifelong learning, we are helping British Columbians to reach their full potential in all aspects of their lives, as well as ensuring our province's success in today's knowledge economy."

Canada and British Columbia's recognition of International Adult Learners' Week is co-ordinated through the Canadian Commission for UNESCO. Its goal, and that of other international organizations, is to promote the importance of adult education and lifelong learning.

"Our government supports all learners regardless of age, because we know how important a solid education is to our province as a whole," said Education Minister Margaret MacDiarmid. "We are committed to ensuring our students have great learning opportunities, right from early learning through to our adult education programs."

The Province invests over $116 million annually in programs to support 68,000 adult learners in meeting their literacy goals - from basic literacy and numeracy to secondary school upgrading, high school completion and workplace-essential skills.

Programs include tuition-free adult basic education, implemented in 2008; the Adult Basic Education Student Assistance Program, which helps adult basic education and English as a second language students pay for books, transportation, day care and tuition; and the Community Adult Literacy Program, which last year benefited nearly 7,000 British Columbians, providing learning experiences tailored for adults, including those living in rural and remote communities.

In addition, government provides over $68 million through the federal agreements on labour market, people with disabilities and immigration to support a range of adult programs throughout B.C. To address newcomers who may have low English language skills, the Province provides $40 million annually for English language training for 20,000 adults through English Language Services for Adults (ELSA).

International Adult Learners' Week has been marked in Canada since 2002.

For more information on UNESCO's education initiatives and International Adult Learners' Week in Canada: http://www.unesco.ca/en/activity/education/AdultLearners.aspx.