Title: Keeping You Informed, Summer '94
Organization: Alberta Advanced Education and Career Development
Form of Material: newsletter
Note: Title of newsletter uncertain
PDF version (129 KB)
This is the third in a series of "Keeping You Informed" newsletters, designed to keep you up- to-date about Alberta Advanced Education and Career Development's strategic planning process known as Adult Learning, Access Through Innovation.
This process has been ongoing since 1992, and has consisted of a number of related initiatives designed to develop a new direction for adult learning in Alberta.
The round two consultation meetings, which took place in the first week of May 1994 in Edmonton and Calgary, provided approximately 300 stakeholders the opportunity to provide input to the draft White Paper, An Agenda for Change, that was released by the Minister to the public for review in late March 1994. In addition, over 7,000 copies of the draft White Paper were mailed to individuals who had previously participated or who had expressed interest in the process.
The purpose of this round of consultation was to confirm the vision, mission, features, roles and goal statements contained in the draft White Paper and to test and receive input on the proposed strategies.
This newsletter provides an overview by the Moderator of the information received from the Edmonton and Calgary public meetings as well as from the written submissions that Albertans mailed to the department.
The information received from this round of consultation will be considered in the development of the Minister's White Paper. The White Paper will be released early in the fall. It will provide a policy framework and action plan for the renewal of the adult learning system in Alberta. The policy directions in the White Paper will also result in changes to the department's three-year business plan that was released earlier this year.
The support and cooperation of all stakeholders will be required to make the strategies and actions outlined in the White Paper a reality. The department will continue to consult with stakeholders and the public throughout the implementation process.
Moderator's Comments ---------------
As moderator of the recently held consultation meetings in Edmonton and Calgary I made a commitment to all the participants to take the input of our face to face deliberations and, coupled with inputs from written submissions, prepare a summary "What We Heard" newsletter as a report back to you.
The views from the meetings held in Edmonton and Calgary were broadly similar. This was noteworthy because the participant mix at the two meetings was different. In Edmonton there was more business and student involvement than in Calgary, whereas in Calgary there was more institutional involvement.
The participants provided a wealth of feedback on the proposed vision, goals and strategies.
You told us the vision needed to be bolder and more clearly stated.
You told us not to place undo emphasis on the needs of the economy at the expense of the quality of education. I heard you say that a priority needed to be placed on ensuring that adult learners receive a quality education.
The importance of both relevant job related training and the benefits of a broadly based education were discussed. It was recognized that both were important and one should not be sacrifice for the other.
All participants shared a common perspective on the importance of education and training and the need to move to a learner-centered system that is focused on continuous learning. It was identified that such a change would require a fundamental attitude shift on the part of stakeholders.
It was suggested that a reference to research be included in the vision statement.
There were other recurrent messages that were reinforced throughout the discussion of goals and strategies.
Interwoven throughout the discussions was a call to improve the credit given for prior learning and life experience as well as to enhance course transferability toward program completion between institutions.
Whether the issue was tuition fee policy or employer sponsored training, there was clear support for increased collaboration and partnerships among stakeholders in the adult learning system. The formalization of partnerships was seen by some as one of the few ways quality could be preserved in an environment of reduced government funding. A number of participants noted to me that these meetings afforded a valuable opportunity for students and the institutions to sit down together and enter into some meaningful dialogue.
Access at the local level was important to all participants. Improvements and support in the area of distance education, alternative methods of delivery and the use of community consortia were cited.
The importance of literacy in enabling learners to upgrade their skills was also identified and stressed.
Accountability, through the establishment of standards and key performance indicators, was fully supported with the condition that the department recognize the unique characteristics of the various providers. It was suggested generally that good performance be rewarded and that poor outcomes not be. This was true whether discussing students, institutions or other providers of learning. It was stressed that evaluating the achievements of the system should not be solely based on economic measures. The importance of quality needs to be captured in the evaluation criteria.
Roles were widely discussed. There was a great desire among the participants to get on with the job of improving transfer arrangements; for the government to facilitate and measure outcomes; for the institutions to be held accountable for their effectiveness and productivity by rationalizing their activities and eliminating turf battles; and for students to be responsible for their lifelong learning and contributing back to society for that which they have received. It was also suggested that the roles of other providers of education and training be clarified.