Toronto, Ontario CANADA, Tuesday, October 8, 2013: Today’s release of an international survey on adult competencies in the 21st century is a wake-up call for Canadians. Although Canada scored well relative to many participating countries, Canada is not in the top group of performing nations.
The Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) was conducted by the OECD and focused on three primary areas of adult competency (ages 16 to 65): literacy, numeracy and digital literacy. The specific findings can be found on the website of the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) at http://www.cmec.ca/. CMEC is comprised of Ministers responsible for learning, skills and labour development and provinces are the constitutional lead for education in Canada.
The Honourable Jeff Johnson, Minister of Alberta Education inherited the Chair of CMEC a mere week ago. In a meeting today with education and industry stakeholders he listened carefully to the opportunities and challenges identified as a result of the PIAAC findings. “He is clearly a leader who is focused on moving the 21st century learning agenda ahead in Canada, in partnership and collaboration with all stakeholders.” says John Kershaw, President, C21 Canada. The fact that C21 Canada was invited to a special briefing session with Minister on the PIAAC findings speaks well to his interest in reaching out to groups and organizations who are actively engaged in and supportive of the call for changes in Canada’s learning systems.
Although the real work of deciphering the data from the OECD survey now begins, the key messages C21 Canada takes away from the PIAAC findings and the Ministers briefing session this morning include:
1) Although Canada’s ranking is relatively positive, we have much work to do to position Canadians with the competencies they need for success in the 21st century;
2) Canada is not in the top group of performing nations, and there is wide regional variation in performance across the country.
3) There is a direct link between highly skilled people with 21st competencies and future economic prosperity and social progress;
4) CMEC and Minister Johnson are committed to leading a national discussion on how to ensure Canadians achieve the competencies they need for success and will be model collaborators in this process;
5) OECD’s PISA results, to be released December, will continue to fuel the national discussion on learning and skills development;
6) The call for change is emanating from many quarters, both internationally (OECD) and nationally (Equinox Summit in Waterloo http://wgsi.org/).
C21 Canada advised Minister Johnson and CMEC officials that our organization is committed to supporting their efforts to convene educators, business leaders and other societal stakeholders and promote a national dialogue on the need for 21st century models of learning and skills development in Canada.
About C21 Canada
C21 Canada is a unique blend of national education associations and knowledge sector businesses united in their belief that 21st century models of learning must be adopted in public education on an
urgent basis to position Canadians for economic, social and personal success in the high skills, knowledge and innovation based economy.www.c21canada.org
C21 Canada Founding Members: Canadian Education Association, Calgary Board of Education, Canadian School Boards Association, Dell, EF Educational Tours, IBM, Microsoft, Nelson Education, Oxford University Press, Pearson, Scholastic Education, SMART Technologies.
Secretariat: 21st Century Learning Associates, MindShare Learning
For media inquiries, please contact:
John Kershaw, President, C21 Canada
Phone: (506) 470-4985
Robert Martellacci, Vice-President, C21 Canada
Phone: (416) 569-2106