TORONTO, September 8, 2010 — Today, the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC), joins with governments, business and labour, nongovernmental organizations, and individuals from around the world to celebrate International Literacy Day (ILD). ILD was established in 1965 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to underscore the value of a literate world and to promote literacy for all.
“Literacy is the foundation of social and economic progress. It is critical to learners’ success, workplace readiness, and increased productivity,” said the Honourable Diane McGifford, Chair of CMEC and Minister of Advanced Education and Literacy for Manitoba. “Efforts to improve literacy aren’t optional. They are vital to our country’s success.”
CMEC first identified literacy as a priority early in the decade and confirmed its importance in the 2008 ministerial statement, Learn Canada 2020. Since 2004, CMEC has held three highly successful fora on various aspects of literacy and furthered its advocacy work through a formal commitment to literacy issued in a 2009 report to Canadians on progress being made to raise literacy levels. In the coming months, ministers will be continuing their engagement with literacy stakeholders, working to improve data on literacy levels in Canadian society. They plan to issue their latest annual report on their efforts to raise literacy levels in early 2011.
In its role as the collective voice of Canada’s ministers of education on the international stage, CMEC is directly engaged with a variety of international bodies on activities related to literacy. It is actively involved in the UN Literacy Decade (2003-12) and is a key player in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the high-profile evaluation undertaken regularly by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Founded in 1967, CMEC is the collective voice of Canada’s ministers of education. It provides leadership in education at the pan-Canadian and international levels and contributes to the fulfilment of the constitutional responsibility for education conferred on the provinces and territories. For more information, visit us at www.cmec.ca.