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Upcoming Adult Learners Week

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Upcoming Adult Learners Week reflects MIT’s approach to adult education

As the country celebrates Adult Learners Week from Monday, one adult learner is celebrating the difference a free Manukau Institute of Technology community-based literacy programme has made in her life.

After all her children moved from their Ngati Hine tribal land, Elizabeth Turner moved to Mangere at which point she decided it was time to focus on her future. A fluent speaker of Te Reo, Elizabeth realised English literacy was important for her future.

Shortly after moving to Auckland to be with her whanau, Elizabeth learnt about a free literacy course based at the Mangere East Community Learning Centre and seized this opportunity to improve her English language skills. “I am learning basic English and can now help my grandchildren. I am really afraid of maths, but my teacher has made numbers fun.”

Elizabeth enthusiastically explains she is now urging her friends to also come and learn. She asks them when they last wrote a letter, and they all laugh.

But for Elizabeth, education is no laughing matter. “The literacy course has opened my eyes, helped me to speak and taught me to think. I can now speak to my grandchildren and understand them.”

MIT’s School of Foundation Studies co-ordinates a number of free community-based literacy programmes, like the one Elizabeth is enrolled in.

Literacy teacher Maria Fiel believes the confidence parents and grandparents gain through the course enables them to set goals and move forward in their lives.

“The course is for parents and grandparents who have schoolchildren, and who want to help them in their school work. At the same time they are upskilling themselves with computer literacy, child education, reading, writing, spelling and numeracy.”

Adult Learners Week runs from 4 to 10 September with the aim to raise the profile of adult learning and its importance in empowering communities.


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