ACCESS - access to information, support services, child care, training allowances, expanded eligibility criteria and bridging programs.
EQUITY - ensuring that people receive fair treatment, equal rights and equal benefits regardless of race, gender, country of origin, class, religion, sexual orientation, geographic location, income, age and ability .
RIGHT TO BASIC EDUCATION - the development of integrated and flexible publicly funded adult basic education, literacy and language training programs.
RECOGNITION OF SKILLS - transferability between various training programs, accreditation, prior learning assessment, credit for overseas education and experience.
QUALITY - integration, diversity of models, learner-centred curriculum, counseling and adequate funding.
ACCOUNTABILITY - of the decision-making process
INTEGRATING TRAINING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT - training must be linked to jobs and sustainable economic development.
The Reference Group of People with Disabilities has also developed a similar list of principles and has added the important notion of SELF-DETERMINATION. The statement of this additional principle is an effort to challenge the rather paternalistic practices of policy-makers and program planners who often feel that they know what is best for people with disabilities.
As decision-making is decentralized and privatized, similar Women's Reference Groups are being established in the provinces and territories. It is hoped that the above named principles will be adopted at various levels of decision-making. There is no simple analysis of the impact of privatization on women's training opportunities, and the analysis becomes even more difficult because the boundaries between public and private have been blurred. Privatization has proven to be a contradictory process with both negative and positive outcomes. In order to resolve some of the problems and expand the opportunities, it is critical for women's advocacy groups to understand the larger political and economic forces shaping the context of privatization.
We need to actively influence the process at all levels, including both the everyday organization of labour market programs for. women and the development of federal and provincial initiatives. We need to be cognizant that the context of privatization will be affected by the shifting of responsibility for labour market programming away from the federal government to the provinces and territories. We need research on the effects of privatization on women's learning opportunities and we need to share our resources, strategies and learning. Working effectively in this rapidly changing context requires that we act with civic courage; that is, that we behave as if we lived in a real democracy.
Shauna Butterwick is a member of the Women's Reference Group where she represents the B.C.-based Women's Employment and Training Coalition. She has her doctorate in Adult Education from the University of B. C. and has done research on labour market policy, privatization and its effects on women's training programs. She is currently a researcher and sessional lecturer at U.B.C.