The state of lifelong learning in Canada

The state of lifelong learning in Canada

The literacy rate among people over 15 years of age in Canada was 99% in 2014, according to World Data Atlas. Canada uses many ways to measure its literacy but Composite Learning Index is the most common.

What is Composite learning index (CLI)?

CLI was developed by the Canadian Council on Learning. It aims to measure the yearly progress of the state of lifelong learning. It was created to assess the national learning conditions locally and regionally.

Multiple data sets and statistical indicators are used to measure how Canadians learn at home, school, and workplace. The CLI is made of 26 specific measures and 17 indicators, which are used to determine the effectiveness of lifelong learning for over 4,500 communities in Canada.

How does it measure the progress?

How do you learn? Do you continue learning after you leave school or graduate from university? CLI takes into account all of that. The indicators are divided into four different categories:

  • Learning to know – includes aspects like reading and numeracy skills, problem-solving skills, post-secondary education.
  • Learning to do – focuses on hands-on skills like workplace training, access to learning centers, job-related training and so on.
  • Learning to live together – includes social and interpersonal skills.
  • Learning to be – involves metrics on self-awareness and personal discovery with attributes like media exposure, cultural events, arts, sports, etc.

Additional ways to measure literacy in Canada

Canada also created the International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) to measure adult literacy. The survey analyzes the different levels of literacy and establishes the reasons and its economic and social impact.

The Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS) was also conducted by Canada to assess the skills of the adult population. It analyzed the numerical, prose and document skills of people aged between 16 to 65 years.

The state of lifelong learning

Canadians understand the importance of lifelong learning and the contribution it makes to the success of our nation. There is a comprehensive formal education system starting from pre-school to post-graduate backed by a strong bureaucracy. Informal learning is also available from various sources like television, radio, and the Internet. Parents also understand the value of learning and take steps to promote it at home. Children and younger adults receive formal education after which they can find employment.

There are many formal and non-formal institutions that contribute towards this adult learning. Educational institutes are the backbone of adult training and learning followed by workplace or job-related training. Canada ranks in the middle among OECD countries in its participation in further education.

Lifelong learning is also supported by community resources like public libraries. They are major lifelong learning centers providing knowledge and information to the public for years.

Lifelong learning is carried out by various stakeholders like the government, formal education institutions, informal agencies and numerous NGOs who implement and carry out lifelong learning initiatives.