Education Ministers announce major pan-Canadian forum on literacy

    VICTORIA, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - Ministers of education celebrated the 40th
anniversary of their intergovernmental organization this week at their
semi-annual meeting, in Victoria, British Columbia. To mark this important
milestone, the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), the national
voice for education in Canada, today announced an innovative forum on literacy
to be held in spring 2008.
    This unique event will be designed to increase awareness among Canadians
of the importance of literacy as a lifelong issue, and to encourage
collaboration and sharing of information on literacy across Canada, develop
education tools that support professional development, and frame discussions
on literacy. It will bring together learners, parents, educators, business and
labour leaders, policy makers, community partners, and others to lay the
foundation for a continuing dialogue through the CMEC literacy networks.
    "Ministers recognize the fundamental importance of literacy for
individual and social development and success," said British Columbia's
education minister, Shirley Bond, who chaired the Victoria meeting. "We are
committed, each in our own jurisdictions, and collectively through CMEC, to
ensuring that Canada leads the world in literacy and learning."
    The forum will be hosted simultaneously in a number of locations across
the country and will take advantage of technology to create a virtual meeting
space, where all participants will be able to listen to and interact with
keynote speakers in real time. A first for Canada and for education ministers,
the forum's unique structure and format will ensure that literacy becomes a
national conversation.
    The initiative is just one component of CMEC's new Literacy Action Plan.
Ministers will also be working together to create literacy networks to share
the best of literacy practices from all provinces and territories. As well,
they will be working through their assessment and research programs to provide
useful data on literacy rates among Canadians.
    "Canada's education systems are the envy of the world, and CMEC has been
a key contributor to our success," said Kelly Lamrock, Minister of Education
for New Brunswick and newly elected Chair of CMEC. "Today's ministers of
education continue to build on the achievements of their predecessors by
providing strong leadership in education through CMEC."
    Ministers will continue work on their priority action plans on Aboriginal
education and postsecondary capacity. CMEC ministers contributed to and have
endorsed "Competing for Tomorrow," a strategy for postsecondary education and
skills training in Canada released by premiers in 2006 and discussed today how
to pursue major priorities outlined in the paper.
    Ministers emphasized federal responsibility for increasing funding for
postsecondary education. They also encouraged the federal government to
restore stable literacy funding.
    The Chair and Vice-Chair of CMEC will seek a meeting with their federal
counterparts to discuss these issues as well as how to work more effectively
together on such issues as literacy, Aboriginal education, and skills training
to the benefit of all Canadians.
    At their next meeting in February 2008, ministers will be exploring new
ways of better informing Canadians about the status of education and the
strategies required for ongoing improvement.

    CMEC is an intergovernmental body composed of the ministers responsible
for elementary-secondary and advanced education from the provinces and

For further information:

For further information: Hanca Chang, Tel.: (416) 962-8100, ext. 265,
E-mail:, Web site:

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