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Hon. Marian Hobbs - Adult Education Speech

Hon. Marian Hobbs
8 September 2000 Speech Notes

ADULT AND COMMUNITY EDUCATION ASSN ADULT LEARNERS' WEEK AWARDS CEREMONY, GRAND HALL, PARLIAMENT, FRIDAY 8 SEPTEMBER, 11AM

Response to welcome, karakia and opening remarks by Conrad Noema and Loreen Hartley-Waihi.

Delighted to be here to celebrate achievements of you all.

Today September 8 is the United Nations International Literacy Day.

This year it's a global interactive event on "Creating literate societies for the 21st Century".

The global launch will take place in Hannover in the early hours of tomorrow morning our time (4.30pm Central European Time). Co-ordinators of International Adult Learners' Weeks will be linked via the Web.

Launch will focus on the dramatic increase in social demand for on-going learning at all ages and for the enhancement of creativity in all areas of life.

Important that we recognise that throughout the globe, we continue to learn throughout our lives. I'm still learning – that's the thrill and frustration of any new job.

The aim of UN International Literacy Day is to create environments which allow learners to use, maintain and further develop their literacy competencies for their own development and for their communities.

Our Adult Learners' Week/He Tangata Matauranga is a celebration of adults' learning that brings together people from many different educational sectors.

It enables us to celebrate and to highlight the situation of adult learners.

Not just the learners but educators and providers too.

The week is also to foster collaborative and co-operative networks and pathways among those who share interest in adults' learning – because it is formal, non-formal and informal.

And to promote the importance of adult learning to the wider community and encourage more adults to take up learning opportunities.

It's become a cliché but education is a life-long process.

Interesting to note on television on Monday night, (This is Your Life), Peter Snell's great pride in achieving academic success after his competitive Olympic days. He regarded himself a poor student at secondary school.


My happy and stretching years at Hagley Community College – what adult learners taught me – interaction in classroom – stretching me – my assertions not enough – I was challenged to back them up.

Adult learners are unique:
 Tend towards self-direction
 Have a reservoir of experiences that can be used in learning.
 Are problem-centred and task-orientated.
 Like to apply their knowledge immediately.
 Can become informed political activists.

Research suggests adults learn for a variety of reasons:
Personal, vocational, social, cultural and political.

As stated the Hamburg Declaration on Adult Learning (1997)—
"Youth and adult learning is one of the principal means for significantly increasing creativity and productivity, in the widest sense of those terms and these in turn are indispensable to meeting the complex and interrelated problems of a world beset by accelerating change and growing complexity and risk."

As a community we have to learn – genetic modification, climate change – because in order to make sound choices, we need to understand the choices before us.

Shortly I will have the pleasure of handing out awards for
Outstanding Adult Learners
Exceptional Adult Educators
And
Innovative Providers

It's been humbling for me reading the testimonials nominating the award recipients.

You're not just an inspiration for me but for all you come into contact with.

Your determination to learn, to inspire, to teach is infectious. You are important exemplars.

Your maturity brings insight to why there were barriers to your earlier learning; or you can recognise barriers that younger students may be erecting and do something about it.

With learning comes so many benefits – confidence, self-esteem, respect for yourself and others, leadership.

You contribute so much to society.

Thank you and congratulations for what you have achieved. And I know this is not the end of your education. You and I will continue to grow and our society will benefit.

ENDS

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