Education Ministers Mark International Adult Learners' Week


Toronto, Septembre 5, 2002 -- Ministers responsible for education called on the education community today to join in marking International Adult Learners' Week, which is being held September 8-14, 2002. The world-wide event is organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

"By helping to combat illiteracy, adult learning is an essential component of meeting the challenges of the knowledge society, mastering new technologies, and adapting to the new economy," said the Honourable Dianne Cunningham, Ontario's Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities and Chair of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC). "Adult learning helps support the principles of citizenship. It is also an essential tool in helping our society to fight poverty."

Minister Cunningham noted that, in addition to promoting adult literacy in their own jurisdictions, the members of CMEC have been supportive of international efforts to recognize and improve lifelong learning in general, and adult education in particular. In 1997, Canada played an active role in the UNESCO International Conference on Adult Education, which adopted a Declaration and an Agenda for the Future with respect to adult education.

More recently, Canada has participated in an international study of adult learning through the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The report of the study and follow-up to it will be discussed by ministers from the provinces and territories when CMEC meets in early October in Winnipeg.

"On behalf of CMEC, I would like to congratulate UNESCO and, in particular, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, on this very worthwhile initiative," said Minister Cunningham. "My colleagues and I are pleased to mark this special week dedicated to adult learners."

CMEC is an intergovernmental body made up of the ministers responsible for elementary-secondary and advanced education from the provinces and territories. Through CMEC, ministers share information and undertake projects in areas of mutual interest and concern.

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