Canada's score on annual learning index stalls

OTTAWA, May 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada's progress on the Composite Learning Index (CLI) is at a stand still in 2010, and there has only been marginal progress over the past five years, according to the latest results from the Canadian Council on Learning's annual measure of lifelong learning.

The national CLI average for 2010 is 75; the same as it was in 2009.

In addition, Canada's progress during the five years of the CLI has been modest: from a benchmark score of 73 in 2006 to 75 in 2010 - an average increase of only 0.3 points per year.

The only tool of its kind in the world, the CLI measures learning conditions in more than 4,500 cities, towns and rural communities across Canada and is based on statistical indicators that reflect the many ways Canadians learn, whether in school, in the home, at work or within the community.

"It is worrisome to see little national progress being made in lifelong learning over the past five years, especially given the important role it plays in contributing to Canada's social and economic prosperity," says Dr. Paul Cappon, President and CEO of the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL). "However, it is encouraging to see success stories in regions and communities across the country."

Atlantic Canada makes greatest five-year surge

While Canada's CLI score has witnessed little progress on a national level since the index began, the story is very different when it comes to specific regions of the country.

For example, the communities with the greatest progress over the last five years are St. John's (80) with an average increase of +3.5 points per year and Fredericton (78) with an average increase of +2.9 points per year.

The 2010 results also reveal that communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island are improving at greater rates than other provinces in Canada, resulting in a narrowing of the CLI gap between eastern and western Canada.

Victoria and Saskatoon lead major Canadian cities

Victoria leads all other major Canadian cities on the 2010 CLI, with a score of 95 - the highest score for a major city in the history of the index. Saskatoon came in second with a score of 90, followed by Calgary (88), Ottawa (87) and Regina (84). (See CLI Backgrounder for a list of the top 10 major cities in Canada.)

Combining both 2010 CLI scores with five-year trends, Victoria and Saskatoon are the only major cities in Canada with scores significantly above the national average, and positive trends over the past five years-an average increase of +2.7 points per year for Victoria and +1.5 points per year for Saskatoon.

Though Calgary (88) and Ottawa (87) continue to perform well on the CLI, their five-year trend scores show a significant decline - an average decrease of -0.9 points per year and -1.3 points per year, respectively.

The CLI shows that Saguenay (63), Trois-Rivières (65), Cape Breton (68), rural communities in Newfoundland and Labrador, and small towns in Nova Scotia are communities that are at-risk with regards to lifelong learning. These communities continue to have CLI scores that are not only significantly below the national average but have also been declining over the last five years.

Detailed results for more than 4,500 communities across Canada can be found on the newly redesigned CLI website at www.cli-ica.ca. The new site offers a series of interactive maps and tools that allow users to explore the many findings of the CLI, as well as view and download a personalized CLI profile for their community.

"Learning and its proven benefits are now more important to communities than ever," says Cappon. "CCL encourages Canadians to view, download and scrutinize the CLI profiles for their own communities. By using the CLI results as a building block, people can begin to develop and enhance their own neighbourhoods toward becoming thriving learning communities."

About CCL

The Canadian Council on Learning is an independent, not-for-profit corporation. Its mandate is to provide evidence-based information to Canadians so they can make the best decisions about learning throughout all stages of life, from early childhood through to the senior years.

    
                   Backgrounder: Composite Learning Index
    

What is it?

The only tool of its kind in the world, the Composite Learning Index (CLI) is Canada's annual measure of progress in lifelong learning. The CLI uses a comprehensive range of statistical indicators to generate numeric scores for more than 4,500 communities across Canada.

A high CLI score means that a particular city, town or rural community possesses the types of learning conditions that foster social and economic well-being. A low CLI score means that a community is under-performing in certain aspects that are key to lifelong learning.

Although many Canadians are aware of the social and economic benefits of lifelong learning, until the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) launched the CLI in 2006 there was no way of measuring how Canadians were performing across the full spectrum of learning; from year-to-year and over time.

How does it work?

The CLI is made up of 17 indicators and 26 specific measures that have been chosen for their connection to lifelong learning. These indicators and measures are conceptually organized into four "pillars of learning" as defined by UNESCO:

Learning to Know

Involves the development of knowledge and skills that are needed to function in the world, such as literacy, numeracy and critical thinking.

Learning to Do

Involves the acquisition of skills that are often linked to occupational success, such as computer training, managerial training and apprenticeships.

Learning to Live Together

Involves the development of social skills and values such as respect and concern for others, social and inter-personal skills and an appreciation of the diversity of Canadians.

Learning to Be

Involves activities that foster personal development (body, mind and spirit) and contribute to creativity, personal discovery and an appreciation of the inherent value provided by these pursuits.

CLI scores and trends

The top 10 major cities in Canada* according to the 2010 CLI are:

    
    City               2010 CLI Score       Five-year EPPY trend (06-10)

    Victoria (BC)            95                   +2.7
    Saskatoon (SA)           90                   +1.5
    Calgary (AB)             88                   -0.9
    Ottawa (ON)              87                   -1.3
    Regina (SA)              84                   +0.2
    Edmonton (AB)            83                   -0.2
    Guelph (ON)              83                   +1.0
    Halifax (NS)             83                   +1.0
    Kitchener (ON)           82                   +0.8
    Hamilton (ON)            81                   +0.2
    London (ON)              81                   +1.0
    Toronto (ON)             81                   +1.3
    Winnipeg (MB)            81                   +0.3
    

In addition to annual scores, the CLI also provides a look at trends over time. These trend scores are obtained by taking scores from previous years and calculating the estimated change per year. The resulting trends are represented by an EPPY score (or "Estimated Points Per Year"), with a positive score meaning progress is increasing over time and a negative score meaning progress is declining over time.

The 2010 CLI provides the first look at trends over a five-year period; the most comprehensive long-term view of progress in learning ever offered in Canada.

    
    ------------------------------
    * For the purposes of this chart "Major Canadian Cities" includes a
        sampling of large cities (population of 100,000 or more) and capital
        cities across Canada.
    

The CLI goes international

The CLI has attracted attention and interest in Europe. Inspired by the CLI and supported by CCL expertise, the German charitable foundation Bertelsmann Stiftung is currently developing a European version of the CLI called European Lifelong Learning Indicators (ELLI).

Furthermore, the international Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has recognized the value of the CLI as an informative and useful tool, one that provides a reliable benchmark necessary to inform lifelong learning policy.

"I have been impressed with the Composite Learning Index, which integrates robust measures across varied dimensions of learning and enables individuals and communities to assess the impact of learning on social and economic outcomes," says Angel Gurria, Secretary-General of the OECD. "The CLI has prompted similar efforts internationally, and I am looking forward to the launch of a European Lifelong Learning Index inspired by this Canadian model."

SOURCE CANADIAN COUNCIL ON LEARNING

For further information: For further information: Margot Maguire, Media Relations, Canadian Council on Learning, (613) 782-2959 x 242, mmaguire@ccl-cca.ca, www.ccl-cca.ca

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