Celebrating Alberta's CALPs on International Literacy Day

Posted: 7 September 2016

Author: Terri Peters, Community Learning Network

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Happy International Literacy Day!

Did you know that this day has been celebrated since 1966? In that year, UNESCO named this day to demonstrate their support and solidarity for literacy and to promote non-formal education for all, particularly for those who have been excluded from the school system. Learn more here: http://www.unesco.org/education/literacy_2000/history.html

Here in Canada, ABC Life Literacy Canada takes the lead every year by naming September Life Literacy Month. You can access facts and research, and nominate an individual or an organization for awards via their website. They also have high-profile Life Literacy Ambassadors who promote our cause, including Robert Munsch and Gail Vaz-Oxlade. You can see more from ABC Life Literacy here: http://abclifeliteracy.ca/what-life-literacy

But I’d like to mark this International Literacy Day by celebrating our strong Community Adult Learning Programs here in Alberta.

Did you know the Community Adult Learning Program provided 49,234 adult learning opportunities last year? Learners spent more time in foundational learning programs than in any other type of learning opportunity. There were 6,250 Adult Basic Literacy learners and 9,888 English language learners. We had 4,893 volunteers contributing 130,075 hours of support to adult learners. That’s an incredibly strong commitment from all of you and your communities!

And that’s only the start of what the CALP system does. We build on our strong connections with learners by forging relationships with other CALPs and organizations across the province. We continue to build a strong community of practice. Since the CALP Portal launched last fall, there have been over 200 discussions started, with 375 replies. The most viewed discussion (317 views) was “Foundational Learning Ideas” and the total number of discussion views to date is over 14,350. Every single CALP across the province is using the Portal and we have more than 600 active users. We at CLN have been thrilled by your engagement with the new CALP Portal and look forward to increasing contributions from all of you!

Of course the Portal isn’t the only way we share our promising practices with each other. We meet at Symposium, at training events, and at Regional Meetings. And many of us also get together informally in smaller groups in our regions. CLN’s Regional Support Staff help organizations stay connected and access the training and supports that make each CALP stronger. Last year, Regional Support Staff made 141 site visits to CALPs last year, and made it out to 125 different organizations.

I remember back when I lived in Saskatchewan and worked in adult literacy, I always admired the community of practice that existed here in Alberta. Now that I live here, I feel energized every day by the collaborative spirit of all of you and our committed Advanced Education Grant Manager team. This is a province that truly walks the talk. All of us are committed to the adult learners in our province and to each other to provide the best adult foundational learning opportunities possible.

But that’s just a part of our adult literacy story here in Alberta. What story would you like to tell on this International Literacy Day?

Terri Peters,
Training Manager

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