On paper, the
policies seem
flexible and
realistic. In
practice, the
situation is
less than

The community is responsible for forming a management committee which first raises a minimum of $3,000 and then assumes responsibilities for locating a suitable classroom, hiring and supervising the program facilitator or instructor, recruiting students, and providing all supplies and equipment. A community group can be an incorporated village or town, not-for-profit organization, native band council, literacy council, group of interested citizens, and the like.

The DAEL, through the literacy coordinators attached to each community college, is responsible for providing information sessions to community groups interested in mounting a CASP, assisting in the hiring and training of facilitators, acquiring and distributing curriculum materials, and recruiting and testing students. The DIA is responsible for proving income support to students and the Canada Employment Centres are responsible for providing supplementary training allowances to eligible students.

Literacy NB is a group of distinguished citizens appointed by the provincial government who report to the Minister of State for Literacy and who are responsible for soliciting corporate or individual donations to support the CASPs. Each CASP enters into a contract with Literacy NB for a grant which, in combination with the $3,000 raised by the community, is expected to cover the basic costs of paying the facilitator and running a 1200- hour program.

The facilitator is hired from among those who are on, or who are eligible for, income assistance or unemployment benefits. Preference is given to those with teacher training and experience working with adult learners, but such training and experience are not essential. The only requirement for employment is that each facilitator must have completed grade 12. The facilitator is hired for the duration of the management committee's contract with Literacy NB.

No fees are charged to attend a CASP. Students are encouraged to attend part-time but may attend full-time. Both day and evening classes may be offered. Initially the program was only to cover literacy education, or basic upgrading (grades 1-6). However, the demand for academic upgrading at the intermediate (grades 7-9) and senior (grades 10-12) levels has become so great that many of those placed on waiting lists for other academic upgrading programs have invaded the CASPs. By force of numbers and need, they have succeeded in shifting the program's focus.

The Benefits
On paper, the policies which have guided the formation of some 300 CASPs since 1991 seem beneficial, flexible and realistic. In practice, the situation is less than perfect.

The programs do have many merits. They have brought many under-educated adults back into contact with the education system through informal, supportive programs available within local communities. The familiarity of the community settings in which classes meet (church basements, community halls, unused schools, etc.) is reassuring for the learners.

The facilitator is usually a resident of the local community, someone the learner is likely to meet in the shopping centre. The facilitators are dedicated to their work. Many are fully trained but unemployed teachers, although few have experience in teaching adults. Over 75 percent are women. While they are paid for 1200 hours of work, most cheerfully come in early and stay late to assist students in solving personal and academic problems.

If students wish to obtain academic credit for the work done in the CASPs, they are able to write standardized, provincial examinations and receive credit from the DAEL toward an Adult High School Diploma. These exams are written in the local community at the end of certain units of study: in language arts and mathematics at the basic and intermediate levels; in general science and second language studies at the intermediate level. Students who are ready to do academic work at the senior level are expected to attend to a community college program although many prefer to continue their studies within the CASP. Whether or not the student remains in the CASP for senior level studies is dependent more on the educational background of the facilitator than on policies.

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