For community-based programs, it is especially important to develop appropriate and useful materials and methods, and to "train the trainers", most of whom are part-time or volunteers. In some provinces (e.g., Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Quebec), innovative and useful materials (e.g., learning kits and CD/ROMs) have been developed for teaching numeracy.
Unions, Trade and Professional Associations
Unions and trade and professional associations provide basic education and training in numeracy and literacy as part of the pre-qualification process, to enable people to qualify for apprenticeship or specialist training and certification. An example would be the Operating Engineers' College in Newfoundland which makes innovative use of home-based assistance for its students: it sends them learning packages for home use, where students can learn on their own, assisted by their spouse, or children, or other family members. In general, this arrangement has worked well, except for cases where the students have started from the most basic levels, and where they lack the literacy skills which are the prerequisite for this type of learning. (Where literacy skills are lacking, students also find it difficult to learn mathematics.)
Issues and concerns affecting adult basic education are as follows:
So far, in numeracy programs, much of the attention has been on workplace training and on adult basic education and upgrading. However, there is an increasing need for higher levels of numeracy across the economy and society more generally, in a wide variety of contexts. Some of these needs are met through formal programs, and some are met more informally and in the course of everyday life (through various forms of continuous learning). (28)
28 In Australia, in particular, there is recognition of the wider role of numeracy - not just in the context of workplace training and adult basic education and upgrading.
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