FRONTIER COLLEGE FIRST
Frontier College is the first Canadian winner of an international award for its work in adult literacy training.
At a ceremony held on International Literacy Day, September 8,1977, at Unesco Head- quarters in Paris, His Excellency Yvon Beaulne, Ambassador and Permanent Delegate of Canada to Unesco, accepted the Honourable Mention and specially struck medal awarded to Frontier College by the International Jury of the Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Prize. The president of the college, Mr. Jack Pearpoint, and his colleagues, were unable to attend the ceremony.
The Mohammad Reza Pahlavi Prize was established in 1967 by His Imperial Majesty the Shahinshah of Iran to recognize outstanding merit of individuals or organizations, in contributing to, or promoting adult literacy. The awards are administered by a jury selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco). This international jury is chaired by Her Imperial Highness the Princess Achraf Pahlavi of Iran, and also includes Rodolfo Barón Castro (Latin America), Ben Mahdy Cissé (Senegal), G.N. Filonov (USSR) and James Robbins Kidd (Canada). The prizes are awarded each year on September 8, International Literacy Day.
There were three other honourable mentions under this prize for work in literacy: for a pilot project in Risaralda, Colombia; for a program for women in Upper-Volta and to Professor Roberto Abadie Soriano of Uruguay.
The college, based in Toronto, carries out its basic education programs in sparsely populated, remote regions of Canada and is active in all provinces and territories, except Prince Edward Island. Its purpose is to provide informal, practical, basic adult education and literacy training. Two of its major programs are: the Labourer-Teacher Program, where educators are volunteers who teach their co-workers in the evenings after their regular working hours; and the Community Education Program, where fieldworkers are sent to work full time with community groups which require their help. Since the college works mostly in "frontier" areas, it is hevaily involved with Indians, Inuit, Métis, immigrants and newcomers.
Labourer-teachers and fieldworkers often work with men and women of little formal education and in most unusual classrooms, such as the quiet corner of a bar, an employees' recreation room, a railway car fitted out as a study and library, or the unused lounge in a minimum-security prison work camp. The programs themselves could include almost anything that a community feels it needs and that labourer-teacher and fieldworkers can provide: basic literacy programs, simple accounting, instruction in nutrition and hygiene, birth- control counselling, rehabilitation of prisoners, assistance in running a community newspaper or a co-operative general store, etc. Emphasis is on ideals of social participation and self-determination, as well as citizenship.
Founded by the Reverend Alfred Fitzpatrick in 1899, Frontier College was one of the first organizations in Canada to provide opportunities for young people to contribute as volunteers in disadvantaged comminities. Thousands of people have served as labourer- teachers including such distinguished persons as Dr. Benjamin Spock and Dr. Norman Béthune. The college is at present under the distinguished patronage of His Excellency Jules Léger, Governor General of Canada.