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Online Programme Scoops Adult Learning Award

Media Release September 3 2012

From Chalk-face to Chalkle - Online Programme Scoops Adult Learning Award

A Wellington based online learning initiative and a homework programme for refugees have won Dynamic Community Learning Awards. The Awards, sponsored by Mary-Jane Rivers, the McCombs-Rivers family and Alison Broad, celebrate community engagement, excellence and energy in adult community learning.

Chalkle uses the web to connect learners with people willing to share their knowledge or skills. It uses existing skills within communities to meet the needs of learners. The programme began in June this year and has already attracted more than 400 learners or chalklers.

Awards judges say community resilience is greatly enhanced when learning provides opportunities for people to meet and establish relationships. Learning is the perfect way to build community.

Community building is also at the heart of the Ethnic Youth Homework Centre. The Centre provides learning support for students from refugee backgrounds two afternoons a week after school. Volunteer tutors and students come together in a relaxed, learner- focused environment. The Centre offers holiday programmes as well. These give students opportunities to try new activities and experiences.

New Zealand has a strong culture of community learning and every year hundreds of thousands of people take part.Chalkleand the Ethnic Youth Homework Centre exemplify the diversity of community based learning available in Aotearoa and the range ofbenefitsit bringssuch as better self-esteem, greater tolerance, confidence and career prospects. Learners often have greater participation in their communities as a result of their learning because they want to give something back.

The Government priorities for Adult and Community Education (ACE) includeliteracy,numeracy, English language (ESOL), Te Reo Māori and sign language. A wide range of community education providers all over Aotearoa offer learning in these core areas and many others. 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’supskilling for a better job, preparing for further study, improving life skills or getting fit and having some fun. It incorporates International Literacy Day on September 8.

ACE Aotearoa Director, Dr Jo Lake says programmes like Chalkle are making access to community learning much easier. “The demand for learning will always be there but the way people are accessing learning is changing. Whether it’s finding a course or group or learning online, technology makes a big difference to access.”

Adult Learners’ Week/He Tangata Mātauranga is organised by ACE Aotearoa.

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