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BC celebrates International Literacy Day through local literacy programs

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 12:30 PDT, Tue September 8, 2020

Today is International Literacy Day, celebrating the importance of literacy as a matter of dignity and human rights.

The day was founded by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1966. Community-based Indigenous, adult and family literacy programs funded through the BC government help British Columbians gain skills in reading, writing, math and digital literacy.

“We know that training people to build their future through literacy is one of the quickest ways to level the playing field, break down barriers and open doors to improved employment opportunities,” said Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark. “When it comes to literacy, investing in one person at a time means investing in our province. Thank you to all of the allies who make this work possible and encourage everyone to take the first step to improve literacy.”

In 2020-21, $2.9 million will be provided to 69 organizations that will deliver 94 Community Adult Literacy Programs in over 80 communities throughout the province. This funding includes a one-time top up of $500,000.

These programs are provided free of charge and typically accessed through schools, Indigenous friendship centres and community centres in partnership with public post-secondary institutions. For many adult learners, literacy programs are an important first step in an educational journey to post-secondary studies.

A Community Adult Literacy Program typically includes one-on-one tutoring and small-group instruction and support for all levels of literacy from basic to high school completion. This year, as a result of COVID-19, the majority of programs have had to move online.

The government’s support of community-based literacy programs is part of its commitment to connect people with the education and training they need to succeed.

On Aug. 8, 2017, the Province made adult upgrading and English language learning programs in BC tuition-free.

For a backgrounder detailing Community Adult Literacy Programs throughout BC in 2020, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/2020.09.08_CALP_Funding_Recipients.pdf.

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