When government leaders talk about the CASPs, they speak in glowing terms about the number of programs which have been established and the number of students who attend--never about the educational outcomes. The CASP partnerships were conceived as an economic solution to education and training problems. The partners are assigned economic responsibilities such as providing resources, raising funds, locating facilities, distributing. curriculum materials, and providing income support to participants; but they do not appear to have much understanding of the funding level necessary to build a viable and effective education program. The funding is not only minimal, it falls below the educational poverty line. Responsibility for maintaining an educational perspective devolves to the facilitators, who are neither viewed as partners in the program nor consulted about educational decisions, which are made by bureaucrats working out of the central offices of the DAEL.

The funding
for CASPs is
not only
minimal, it
falls below the
poverty line.

In the long run, the educational outcomes of the CASPs depend on the skill, knowledge, ability, wisdom and creative genius of the facilitators. They are the core of the CASPs. If they cannot be better paid, they should at least be respected for their contributions, supported and encouraged throughout the duration of their contract, and provided with appropriate training. And they should be recognized and valued as equal partners in the venture.

Dorothy MacKeracher is a professor of adult education at the University of New Brunswick, and is a feminist scholar, teacher, and researcher.

  1. This paper draws on an inquiry conducted into the nature of the academic upgrading programs offered in New Brunswick with funding support from the Canada Employment and Immigration Commission. For further information, see MacKeracher, D. "Academic upgrading in New Brunswick," unpublished report available from the author, Faculty of Education, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, 1993.

  2. The letter from the Minister of State for Literacy reads, in part, "La possibilité d'emploi offerte par le programme fournit une expérience de l'enseignement à beaucoup de personnes qui n'ont pas eu l'occasion d'utiliser leurs compétences. Cette expérience pourrait servir de tremplin pour obtenir un emploi de longue durée ou permanent en enseignement. On n'offre pas d'avantages sociaux complets aux employés du programme, car il s'agit de travail a contrat, non d'un emploi permanent. ... Il est intéressant de noter que, dans d'autres provinces, la formation en alphabétisation est fournie par des bénévoles. Toutefois, le Nouveau-Brunswick a choisi une autre option afin d'assurer une formation de qualité uniforme à tous les apprenants."

  3. DAEL (1991) "Academic upgrading services." Fredericton, NB: New Brunswick Department of Advanced Education and Labour, 1991, p.13.

  4. Curtis, K. "Literacy initiatives in New Brunswick: 1975 to 1992." Unpublished paper available from the author, Woodstock Community College, Woodstock, NB, 1992.

  5. Downey, J. & Landry, A. (chairs) To live and learn: The challenges to education and training. Second report of the New Brunswick Commission on Excellence in Education. Fredericton, NB: New Brunswick Policy Secretariat, 1993, p.9.

Back Contents Next