Well intended pledges don't make a literate community, community learning organizations and thousands of hours of volunteer time help bridge the gap, despite their valiant efforts though they have been unable to close it. Investing in a community learning program is investing in the future. Literacy is a powerful tool one we should all have access to.
One has to wonder why if being literate is linked so closely to strong economy and a good quality of life that 42% of Canadians are semi-literate (38% of Nova Scotians). Imagine not being able to open and read your mail, fill out an application form, or enjoy the sheer pleasure of reading a letter or a poem written just for you. Imagine if you couldn’t read the instructions on your child’s medicine. Imagine if you couldn’t read warning signs. Imagine if all these activities caused you to panic.
Now imagine living in Sweden where it is your right to obtain a year’s leave of absence to return to school to improve your education without fear of losing your job. Imagine having the right to pre-school education for your children 0-5 years of age that is based on a maximum fee relevant to your income. Imagine having a learning challenge and your ESS or DSC worker asks “why don’t we set up an appointment to have you tested?”
Is adult education a priority in Canada? Absolutely, if you have the literacy skills required to enroll in university, community college, skills or apprenticeship programs. Everyone else faces a series of roadblocks.
Jon Crispinsson wrote “without literacy, there is no real democracy. You cannot be part of a modern society if you can’t read.” Wonder where that leaves 38% of Nova Scotians?
Yours in literacy, Lesley