Lots of reasons to go back to school

Lots of reasons to go back to school

Adult literacy and basic education (now known as Developmental Studies) at the NWT’s Community Learning Centres can be an important stepping stone for adults who left school early. The centres can help adults feel successful about learning and get the foundational skills they need to go on to further education and/or employment.

Despite many challenges — financial issues, family responsibilities and fear of failure — adult learners have many reasons to continue their education. Most often they want to:

  • Get a job
  • Get a better job
  • Make more money
  • Help their children with their education.

In addition to these motivators for going back to school, our research into non-academic outcomes for adult learning and basic education points to other benefits:

  • More positive attitude and self-confidence about learning, work and life
  • New, practical skills for living and relationships, as well as skills to prepare for work and further education
  • Pride in providing a better future and stability for their children
  • Improved ability to help children with their homework
  • A sense of community among learners
  • Ability to make a commitment

As part of our research, we documented the stories of a number of NWT learners. Their stories are inspiring and are available on our website in a document called, “It Feels So Good Inside: Stories of Progress on a Learning Journey.” Aurora College also has inspiring stories of learners in the form of videos of learners who have participated in adult education programs.

The NWT’s high school graduation rate is lower than the Canadian average, and shows a gap between the rates for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. Going back to school to improve their literacy and other foundational skills has implications for adults personally, through benefits like improved health outcomes. Higher levels of education also benefit society as a whole, economically, socially, and politically.

Adult education is an integral part of the NWT education system. Funding from the Government of Canada through the Northern Adult Basic Education Program has brought about significant changes in the delivery of adult learning in the NWT. New approaches have led to increased numbers of adults enrolling in community learning centre courses: many of those adults go on to employment or further education.

Hopefully, reading about or viewing the success stories of adult learners will help you understand the importance of our adult education system, and the benefits individuals and society derive from it.

— Helen Balanoff

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