CORAL: New initiatives in adult education
post by Barbara Goode, Cheryl Pratt and Suzanne Longpré, LEARN
The Adult Education & Vocational Training sector (AEVT) is the only growing sector in most English school boards in Quebec. According to Ministry indicators, in 2011-2012, 30 441 adult students were enrolled in English language primary and secondary programs province-wide. Total youth and adult enrollments for the nine English boards in the same year were 122 612 (excluding kindergarten numbers) so adults formed about 26% of all student enrollments. While these adult students represent a very diverse demographic, including barely-out-of-school teens, a significant segment are returning to school “rusty” after many years in the workforce or with a resolve to obtain their Diploma of Vocational Studies despite their learning or socio-economic difficulties. In addition, boards have been encouraged by Ministry policy to capitalize on the enormous educational demands of developing countries such as China and India, especially in vocational training. As a result, international students also comprise a rapidly-growing segment of enrollments. Many of these international students face the challenge of studying course content in their second or third language.
Since its inception, LEARN’s global mandate has included the provision of support and services to the Adult General Education & Vocational Training sector of English language school boards. Our new LEARN team called CORAL – Complementary Online Resources for Adult Learners – is now talking with centre personnel to gather ideas regarding potential projects to meet the needs of staff and students. This calendar year, we have developed and piloted an adult tutoring service in collaboration with the boards. It has been widely recognized that adult students need additional support to complement what centres and teachers have been able to provide. Based on board data and these discussions LEARN CORAL’s first initiative is to progressively implement these free online tutoring assistance in Mathematics, French and English.
It’s important to point out that this tutoring service will not compete with Quebec’s English course delivery currently available to adults through existing initiatives like the Eastern Townships Distance Education Centre, English Montreal’s DEAL, or SOFAD. Our real time (“just in time”) online tutoring will provide a valuable complement to these centres and to the support offered by classroom teachers. We have begun with centre-based start-ups over fall-winter 2015-16. The response has been very positive. Surveys completed by teachers and students have indicated a high level of interest and enthusiasm for the service. To date the following centres are getting underway:
- LBPSB -WICC
- SWLSB -Vimont
- EMSB-James Lyng
As we build capacity and adapt the model based on input from our early participants, the service will be expanded to serve adult students registered in either general education or vocational training in all nine English-language school boards in Quebec.
For another post about new initiatives in adult education, you can read this post about ramification in an adult education language classroom.