The 1988 literacy strategy, updated in 1990,131 lays the
basis for current programming. The 1990 document says,
of all ages should have access to programs which will enable them to
achieve a functional level of literacy in their home community, wherever
possible.... Programs providing a functional level of literacy should
be learner-centred and community-based."
There are 60 communities in the NWT. Of these, 34 have permanent literacy
"community learning centres," and in any
year another 10 or 15 other communities also have programs in operation.
About three-quarters of programs are operated by Arctic College. The
remainder, usually located where the college does not deal with basic
literacy, are run by non-profit organizations, including libraries,
friendship centres, and especially Community Education Councils (roughly
the counterpart of school boards in the provinces). Programs are offered
in six aboriginal languages (Inuktitut, Cree, Gwitch'in, Slavey, Dogrib
and Chipewyan, as well as English and French, are all official languages
in the NWT). Some programs involve educational radio broadcasting; and
many are adapted to local conditions such as seasonal cycles of hunting
and trapping. It is a goal to have one-half of teachers aboriginal language-speakers
by the year 2000; many are now classroom assistants teaching their language.
A Literacy Council was formed in 1990, to sponsor literacy programming
with federal and philanthropic funding. Arctic College has made literacy
and ABE a key component of its current five-year strategy.
This section has displayed something of the vast array and variety
of policy and programming arrangements in literacy across the country.
The next chapter attempts again to stand back from the detail and define
some broad issues concerning literacy work in the next decade.