The Centre  for Family Literacy has created an app  to help improve literacy

http://globalnews.ca/news/3043025/free-app-helps-families-improve-kids-literacy-with-fun-activity-ideas/

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Federal government underspends on literacy (once again…)

The federal Public Accounts for 2015-2016 were posted on October 25, 2016 [http://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/recgen/cpc-pac/index-eng.html]. Once again, Employment and Social Development Canada underspent on literacy and essential skills projects leaving $13,133,194 on the table.

Large lapses in the spending under the Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program (ALLESP) have been the modus operandi of the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills since the 2006-2007 fiscal year. These lapses have ranged from 20% to 40% of the total budget with only one year, 2010-2011, with almost total spending of the budget.

The first half of the fiscal year 2015-2016 was constrained by the upcoming election and the latter half by a government getting its bearings.

Not only has there been underspending, since 2006-2007, the ALLESP budget itself has been reduced by $23,669,000. Today the budget stands at only $18,009,000.

In the Fall Economic Statement on November 1, 2016, the Minister of Finance promised to:

Change the Estimates process so that federal departments can update Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental performance Reports (the accountability reports will be changed to better reflect budget initiatives, ensure they are focused on results and delivery, and provide more transparent reports on spending).

I for one will look forward to having a more transparent way to figure out what is being spent and on what it’s being spent. One can only hope that 2016-2017 will see 100% spending of the budget as approved by Parliament.

chart-for-blog-november-2-2016

Posted in Federal Government and Literacy, Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES), Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Who’s Getting Funded? – take 2

[Something went wrong when I tried to post this]

I recently was looking at the underspending by the federal government on literacy projects. This had me wondering what exactly was being funded. You may recall that in June 2014, core funding ended for national and provincial/territorial organizations, many of which closed their doors.

Word on the street is that it’s hard to get funding from the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES). The last call for concept papers was in January 2015 (I’ve not seen any calls for proposals since then nor have I heard of who was funded under this last call).

I tried the OLES Project Database on the website but it doesn’t look like this has been updated since 2010. My other source is the “Proactive Disclosure” section of the Employment and Social Development (ESDC) website. Based on the information there, nothing was funded in 2015-2016 and in 2014-2015, fiver projects were funded.

Fortunately, Public Accounts provides a list of grants and contributions. Although there’s no information about what the project is about, at least we now know who received funding and how much (it’s not clear whether the amount reflects the total contribution or only the particular year’s payment).

2016 Public Accounts – list of contributions under the adult learning, literacy, and essential skills Program (ALLESP) – fiscal year 2015-2016

 

Contributions to not-for-profit, for-profit, and aboriginal organizations, municipal, provincial and territorial governments for adult learning, literacy and essential skills 8,375,806
Actions interculturelles de développement et d’éducation, Sherbrooke, Québec 332,638
Alberta Rural Development Network, Sherwood Park, Alberta 277,753
Bow Valley College, Calgary, Alberta 136,370
Colleges and Institutes Canada, Ottawa, Ontario 105,043
Community Business Development Corporation Restigouche, Campbellton, New Brunswick 720,334
Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation, Montréal, Quebec 153,301
Conestoga College, Kitchener, Ontario 341,496
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia 121,479
Decoda Literacy Solutions, Vancouver, British Columbia 253,367
Frontier College, Toronto, Ontario 265,655
Government of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick 2,250,000
Nunavut Literacy Council, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut 1,049,844
Réseau pour le développement de l’alphabétisme et des compétences, Ottawa, Ontario 284,740
Saint John Learning Exchange, Saint John, New Brunswick 285,851
Skills Canada, Ottawa, Ontario 553,018
Social Research And Demonstration Corporation, Ottawa, Ontario 165,290
Workplace Education Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba 545,279
Young Women’s Christian Association of Canada, Toronto, Ontario 451,308
Transfer payments under $100,000 (2 recipients) 83,040

 

2015 Public Accounts – list of contributions under the Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program (ALLESP) – fiscal year 2014-2015

Contributions to not‑for‑profit, for‑profit, and aboriginal organizations, municipal, provincial and territorial governments for adult learning, literacy and essential skills 12,160,665
ABC Life Literacy Canada – Toronto, Ontario 443,035
Actions interculturelles de développement et d’éducation – Sherbrooke, Québec 267,006
Alberta Rural Development Network – Sherwood Park, Alberta 362,385
Bow Valley College – Calgary, Alberta 114,848
Canadian Apprenticeship Forum – Ottawa, Ontario 429,994
Canadian Literacy and Learning Network – Ottawa, Ontario 107,658
Centre de documentation sur l’éducation des adultes et la condition féminine – Montréal, Québec 128,471
Colleges and Institutes Canada – Ottawa, Ontario 655,175
Community Business Development Corporation Restigouche – Campbellton, New Brunswick 686,516
Conestoga College – Kitchener, Ontario 492,991
Copian Inc. – Fredericton, New Brunswick 110,396
Dalhousie University – Halifax, Nova Scotia 148,260
Douglas College – New Westminster, British Columbia 849,289
Essential Skills Ontario – Toronto, Ontario 1,331,927
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium of Canada – Owen Sound, Ontario 254,114
Frontier College – Toronto, Ontario 261,909
Government of New Brunswick – Fredericton, New Brunswick 1,250,000
Literacy Alberta Society – Calgary, Alberta 209,835
Mining Industry Human Resources Council – Ottawa, Ontario 168,433
Northwest Territories Literacy Council – Yellowknife, Northwest Territories 288,963
Nunavut Literacy Council – Cambridge Bay, Nunavut 452,857
Quebec English Literacy Alliance – Knowlton, Quebec 250,335
Réseau pour le développement de l’alphabétisme et des compétences – Ottawa, Ontario 508,814
Saint John Learning Exchange – Saint John, New Brunswick 173,598
Skills / Compétences Canada – Ottawa, Ontario 259,872
Social Research And Demonstration Corporation – Ottawa, Ontario 290,431
The Centre for Literacy – Montréal, Quebec 123,367
Trucking Human Resource Sector Council Atlantic – Truro, Nova Scotia 198,804
Université du Québec à Montréal – Montréal, Québec 133,120
Workplace Education Manitoba – Winnipeg, Manitoba 482,483
Young Women’s Christian Association of Canada – Toronto, Ontario 470,954
Transfer payments under $100,000 (5 recipients) 254,825

 

Posted in Federal Government and Literacy, Literacy and Essential Skills, Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES) | 3 Comments

Thanks and Farewell to Gillian Mason

The literacy field continues to respond to the devastating end of core funding. ABC Life Literacy Canada’s Board of Directors recently decided it could only support staff directly connected to project funding and so Gillian Mason, the president for the past 3 and ½ years, has left the organization.

Gillian contributed much to our field. She was a quick study and learned about the issue of literacy and about the politics as well. She has a good way with people, listens well, speaks articulately and consistently makes the case for literacy. I always enjoyed the opportunities I had to be at the same event as Gillian and to put our heads together to figure out strategies to advance the cause.

I personally want to thank Gillian for her dedication to literacy and to ABC Canada. She’ll be missed. I wish her all the best in whatever the future holds for her. I know she’ll be an incredible asset to whatever organization has the privilege of snatching up this talented and capable woman.

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Chinese Literacy Posters

I was recently in Beijing China on holidays and came across a series of literacy posters mounted on hoardings along a very busy street. I used Google Translate so no promises about the accuracy of the translation. It seems that the “Reading and Reading Activities Organization and Coordination Office” is responsible for the posters.

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This is the row of posters along the hoardings

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“To realize the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the Chinese dream of reading” – this image is so similar to many logos used here in Canada

imag4941

“To stand to learn as the first, learn to read”

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“Have time to read and have time to read this is happiness” – this was my favourite since it promotes adult literacy

imag4946

“Love reading good books good reading” – literacy as a key would appear to be a universal image

imag4947

“People keep thinking vitally, people get wisdom inspired! People to nourish the noble gas” – love the image – not so certain about the translation🙂

 

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Who’s getting funded?

I recently posted about the underspending by the federal government on literacy projects. This had me wondering what exactly was being funded. You may recall that in June 2014, core funding ended for national and provincial/territorial organizations, many of which closed their doors.

Word on the street is that it’s hard to get funding from the Office of Literacy and Essential Skills (OLES). The last call for concept papers was in January 2015 (I’ve not seen any calls for proposals since then nor have I heard of who was funded under this last call).

I tried the OLES Project Database on the website but it doesn’t look like this has been updated since 2010. My other source is the “Proactive Disclosure” section of the Employment and Social Development (ESDC) website. Based on the information there, nothing was funded in 2015-2016 and in 2014-2015, fiver projects were funded.

Fortunately, Public Accounts provides a list of grants and contributions. Although there’s no information about what the project is about, at least we now know who received funding and how much (it’s not clear whether the amount reflects the total contribution or only the particular year’s payment).

2016 Public Accounts – list of contributions under the adult learning, literacy, and essential skills Program (ALLESP) – fiscal year 2015-2016

 

Contributions to not-for-profit, for-profit, and aboriginal organizations, municipal, provincial and territorial governments for adult learning, literacy and essential skills 8,375,806
Actions interculturelles de développement et d’éducation, Sherbrooke, Québec 332,638
Alberta Rural Development Network, Sherwood Park, Alberta 277,753
Bow Valley College, Calgary, Alberta 136,370
Colleges and Institutes Canada, Ottawa, Ontario 105,043
Community Business Development Corporation Restigouche, Campbellton, New Brunswick 720,334
Community Economic Development and Employability Corporation, Montréal, Quebec 153,301
Conestoga College, Kitchener, Ontario 341,496
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia 121,479
Decoda Literacy Solutions, Vancouver, British Columbia 253,367
Frontier College, Toronto, Ontario 265,655
Government of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick 2,250,000
Nunavut Literacy Council, Cambridge Bay, Nunavut 1,049,844
Réseau pour le développement de l’alphabétisme et des compétences, Ottawa, Ontario 284,740
Saint John Learning Exchange, Saint John, New Brunswick 285,851
Skills Canada, Ottawa, Ontario 553,018
Social Research And Demonstration Corporation, Ottawa, Ontario 165,290
Workplace Education Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba 545,279
Young Women’s Christian Association of Canada, Toronto, Ontario 451,308
Transfer payments under $100,000 (2 recipients) 83,040

 

2015 Public Accounts – list of contributions under the Adult Learning, Literacy and Essential Skills Program (ALLESP) – fiscal year 2014-2015

Contributions to not‑for‑profit, for‑profit, and aboriginal organizations, municipal, provincial and territorial governments for adult learning, literacy and essential skills 12,160,665
ABC Life Literacy Canada – Toronto, Ontario 443,035
Actions interculturelles de développement et d’éducation – Sherbrooke, Québec 267,006
Alberta Rural Development Network – Sherwood Park, Alberta 362,385
Bow Valley College – Calgary, Alberta 114,848
Canadian Apprenticeship Forum – Ottawa, Ontario 429,994
Canadian Literacy and Learning Network – Ottawa, Ontario 107,658
Centre de documentation sur l’éducation des adultes et la condition féminine – Montréal, Québec 128,471
Colleges and Institutes Canada – Ottawa, Ontario 655,175
Community Business Development Corporation Restigouche – Campbellton, New Brunswick 686,516
Conestoga College – Kitchener, Ontario 492,991
Copian Inc. – Fredericton, New Brunswick 110,396
Dalhousie University – Halifax, Nova Scotia 148,260
Douglas College – New Westminster, British Columbia 849,289
Essential Skills Ontario – Toronto, Ontario 1,331,927
Excellence In Manufacturing Consortium of Canada – Owen Sound, Ontario 254,114
Frontier College – Toronto, Ontario 261,909
Government of New Brunswick – Fredericton, New Brunswick 1,250,000
Literacy Alberta Society – Calgary, Alberta 209,835
Mining Industry Human Resources Council – Ottawa, Ontario 168,433
Northwest Territories Literacy Council – Yellowknife, Northwest Territories 288,963
Nunavut Literacy Council – Cambridge Bay, Nunavut 452,857
Quebec English Literacy Alliance – Knowlton, Quebec 250,335
Réseau pour le développement de l’alphabétisme et des compétences – Ottawa, Ontario 508,814
Saint John Learning Exchange – Saint John, New Brunswick 173,598
Skills / Compétences Canada – Ottawa, Ontario 259,872
Social Research And Demonstration Corporation – Ottawa, Ontario 290,431
The Centre for Literacy – Montréal, Quebec 123,367
Trucking Human Resource Sector Council Atlantic – Truro, Nova Scotia 198,804
Université du Québec à Montréal – Montréal, Québec 133,120
Workplace Education Manitoba – Winnipeg, Manitoba 482,483
Young Women’s Christian Association of Canada – Toronto, Ontario 470,954
Transfer payments under $100,000 (5 recipients) 254,825

 

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What can we learn from Sweden…

A big thank you to the Literacy Enquirers Facebook page for posting an interview that Nayda Veeman gave literacies magazine back in 2004.

literacies is now defunct. Advocates like Nayda have left us. The literacy sector is in disarray. Perhaps it is time to re-visit “What can we learn from Sweden”…thank you Nayda.

http://www.literacies.ca/literacies/3-2004/wfveeman.html

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What can we learn from Sweden?

An interview with Nayda Veeman

For the past two years, Nayda Veeman has been researching literacy work in Sweden.

To learn what she has discovered, we interviewed her by e-mail.

Literacies:       What are your preliminary observations about the major differences between Canada and Sweden in terms of how the need for programs is established?

Veeman:         From 1967 until 1997, all 288 municipalities in Sweden were mandated to offer adult education as a compensatory program for adults who had not completed upper secondary school-the equivalent of Canadian grade twelve. Adult basic education (literacy) is not differentiated from adult education generally. Programs are required to give priority to adults with the least education.

In 1997, the Swedish government established the Adult Education Initiative. The AEI was a response to rising unemployment during the economic recession of the early nineties. The government wanted to do something and adult education was one thing it could do so it allocated additional funding ($56 CDN for each Swede for each of five years) to increase the supply and diversity of adult learning options. The AEI gave study grants and loans even for adults studying at the very basic level.

Initially funding was allocated to municipalities according to the level of unemployment in the region. In subsequent years, it depended on the number of adults who had completed adult basic education (up to and including high school) in the previous year. I think the important thing to realize is that this funding was on top of the regular adult education funding given to municipalities.

The AEI also encouraged introduction of different learning opportunities at the municipal level, including private provision. What had been funded until then were the municipal adult education courses that were the same as in the school program but for adults.

Literacies:      It is interesting to hear that when Sweden identified adult basic education as a priority in 1997, they focused on increasing the number and diversity of learning opportunities. In Canada, on the other hand, a large proportion of funding goes towards increasing demand (in the form of public awareness campaigns) while no additional funding is allocated for programs. What do you make of this contrast?

Veeman:         I think we put the onus on individuals to improve their skills whereas in Sweden, this is seen as a concern for the whole society and a shared responsibility between individuals and the state.

My question would be how far could we go in offering universal programs and the support that enables adults to participate if we reallocated the energy and money used for tutor recruitment and training, public awareness and consultations?

Literacies:      How is program effectiveness evaluated in Sweden?

Veeman:         Program administrators are required to submit annual statistical reports on number of students, completion etc. Funding for subsequent years depends on how many people finished.

Literacies:       How is the value of adult basic education measured in Sweden?
Veeman:         This can only be answered implicitly, but given the level of government funding for non-formal and informal education such as study circles, etc., as well as the formal municipal adult education system throughout the country, it seems to be highly valued as part of folkbildning, raising the educational level of the population.

Literacies:      Your research has looked at policy in intent, in practice and in experience. What have you observed about how the intent of policy affects how learners’ experience programs?

Veeman:         If there is no stigma attached to attending adult education and adults have the resources to do so, it is easier for them to participate. I really found little difference between Canada and Sweden in the reasons why adults chose to go back to school or the reasons why they had not succeeded in school as youth. There was a big difference in the childcare available and there was no volunteer tutoring in Sweden. The dropout rates and the experience in the classroom did not vary between the two countries.

There was a big difference for English-as-a-second-language learners’ in that, although they had less likelihood of ever having seen or heard Swedish before coming to the country, they could have Swedish-for-immigrants language training until they could pass a national exam (three levels) so the exit was competency-based rather than time-limited as it is in Canada.

Literacies:      What have you noticed about how policy affects practitioners’ experience of work in adult basic education?

Veeman:         In Sweden, instructors in adult education programs are unionized municipal workers. The program administrators faced a lot of stress during the adult education initiative because they had to develop new initiatives annually over the five years. Most adult education teachers had come from the K-12 system and so were professionally trained. In rural areas, the issue of finding qualified staff and meeting the needs of students sometimes had to be met by borrowing teachers from the school system, or incorporating adults into classes for youth.

Literacies:      What did you learn about how policy affects the design of programs?

Veeman:         The municipal adult education program from 1967-1997 was like a regular school program but for adults. This program still exists in most of the municipalities. The Adult Education Initiative resulted in more diversity so that some more concentrated programs were offered, specialized courses in personal care or horticulture for example. As well, the residential folk high schools that provided much greater counselling and support could get funding to provide education for adults.

The AEI led to greater decentralization, so program design could be more reflective of local conditions and economic needs. Programs also depended on the qualifications and interest of local coordinators.

Literacies:      Now that the Swedish part of the study is finished, what are the next steps for this project?

Veeman:         We are extending the research to Canada. Right now we are looking at the realities, the policies and experiences-how policy is being played out in the various provinces. I spent a week in Toronto in February and I will be in Nova Scotia in April to talk to literacy learners’ and practitioners. Keith Walker will be spending six months in British Columbia and Angela Ward will go to Yellowknife. This data will give the research more of a pan-Canadian focus. We are presenting our findings in an effort to try to engage the literacy community. We would like to encourage people to think about what can happen in Canada, what from Sweden is relevant here.

For more information about this research, go to www.usask.ca/education/alcs

 

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Posted in Adult Literacy and Basic Skills Policy, Federal Government and Literacy, International Literacy Surveys, literacies, Literacy and Essential Skills | Leave a comment