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Intergenerational Learning Key to Strong Communities

Media Release August 26 2012

Intergenerational Learning Key to Strong Communities

Adult learner Seruwaia Koroi knows first hand that to achieve your goals requires effort. It is a message
she shares with her kids often. It is a message she will also share in a You Tube video during this year’s Adult Learners’ Week/He Tangata Mātauranga.

In the video Seruwaia describes fulfilling her dream of becoming a teacher – a dream she was unable to pursue as a young person growing up in Fiji because her family was unable to afford it.

During Adult Learners’ Week/He Tangata Mātauranga, September 3-9, adult learners like Seruwaia all over Aotearoa will celebrate the benefits of adult learning.

New Zealand has a strong culture of adult learning and every year tens of thousands of people take part in some form of community learning. This year’s celebration which will be launched in Blenheim on September 3, highlights the benefits of intergenerational learning and its impact on families and communities.

Dr Jo Lake, Director of Adult and Community Education (ACE) Aotearoa says when families learn together, barriers between the generations are broken down. This is especially true where technology is concerned.

“Many communities in Aotearoa have been transformed through community learning initiatives provided in schools or community houses. Programmes such as Computers in Homes have broken down the digital divide between today’s learners (digital natives) and older learners (digital immigrants).”

But it is not just technical skills that are enhanced through learning. Dr Lake says when adult learners share their stories, they talk about improvements in speaking, reading and writing English, understanding numbers, and speaking Māori. Social benefits include better self-esteem, greater tolerance, confidence and career prospects. Learners also say they have greater participation in their communities as a result of their learning. They want to give something back.

The Government priorities for Adult and Community Education (ACE) include literacy, numeracy, English language (ESOL), Te Reo Māori and sign language. A diverse range of community education providers all over New Zealand offer learning in these core areas and many others. Those courses which are not eligible for funding are often run by volunteers.

Adult Learners’ Week/He Tangata Mātauranga, September 3-9 celebrates all adult learning whether it’s upskilling for a better job, preparing for further study, improving life skills or getting fit and having some fun. It is supported by the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO and incorporates International Literacy Day on September 8.

Adult Learners’ Week/He Tangata Mātauranga is organised by ACE Aotearoa.
For more information see the website


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