Education Ministers Once Again Celebrate International Adult Learners' Week


Toronto, September 9, 2005 -- Ministers responsible for education are once again celebrating International Adult Learners' Week (IALW), which coincides with International Literacy Day (September 8), the United Nations Literacy Decade (2003–2012), and the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005–2014). The worldwide event is organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“Adult education and continuing training are increasingly being seen as key elements of a nation's agenda, focused on the maintenance of economic growth and sustainable development.  The ongoing evolution of a knowledge-based society rests in large measure on the participation of its citizens in learning throughout their lives.  Citizens must have not only access to opportunities for learning but also the desire to engage in learning so that their nation can respond to the social and economic challenges of a knowledge society,” said the Honourable Jean-Marc Fournier, Quebec's Minister of Education, Recreation and Sports, and Chair of the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC).

Canada has vast experience and a wealth of expertise in adult education. Its leadership and expertise lie not only within the academic community but also within governments, among social partners, and volunteer organizations that support learners.

Since 2002, the provinces and territories have been participating in the preparations and celebrations for IALW.  In addition to promoting adult literacy in their own jurisdictions, the members of CMEC have recently reviewed promising practices and established common definitions and typologies, in order to improve opportunities for lifelong learning. Adult education continues to be a topic of importance and focus for ministers.

In addition to initiatives in Canada, ministers have been supportive of international efforts to recognize and improve lifelong learning in general and adult education in particular, both through the work of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UNESCO.

“The members of CMEC join me once again in congratulating UNESCO and, in particular, the Canadian Commission for UNESCO for their work in this area,” said Minister Fournier.

CMEC is an intergovernmental body made up of the ministers responsible for elementary-secondary and postsecondary 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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Boyd Pelley, CMEC
Tel.: (416) 962-8100, ext. 241
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