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For the second year in a row, Canada makes gains on annual learning index

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Ottawa—For the second year in a row, Canada’s overall score on the Composite Learning Index has improved—with the greatest upward trends seen in Quebec and Atlantic Canada—according to the latest results from the Canadian Council on Learning’s annual measure of lifelong learning.

Created in 2006, the Composite Learning Index (CLI) is the world’s only statistical index of lifelong learning, reporting results for 4,700 cities and communities across Canada.

For 2008, the national average is 77, an increase of one point from 2007 and four points from the national benchmark of 73 set in 2006.

"It’s reassuring to see Canada’s improved performance on the CLI realized across the country, not just in our major cities but also in our small towns and rural communities,” says Dr. Paul Cappon, President and CEO of the Canadian Council on Learning (CCL).
“In addition, with three years of results it is now possible to report on the learning progress, or trends, seen in individual communities across the country.”

CLI trend scores

Canada's score on the index is improving by an estimated 1.9 points per year; (or +1.9 EPPY*) a steady upward progression that is calculated using scores from the last three years.

This positive trend has been driven by improvement in the areas of work-related learning (Learning to Do) and learning for personal development (Learning to Be). On the other hand, Canada's performance in school-based learning (Learning to Know) is stagnant.

CLI gap narrows

Since 2006, the greatest gains on the Composite Learning Index have been in Quebec and Atlantic Canada; the majority of the country’s 10 most-improved cities are located east of Ontario, with St. John's, N.L., topping the list (see table below).

The combined trend score for communities in Quebec, New Brunswick, P.E.I, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador is +2.2 EPPY, a greater and more consistent rate of improvement than the rest of Canada.

Other key findings:

The CLI gap—the difference between the averages for Canada and for communities in the province with the lowest CLI scores—has decreased by 8 points since 2006.
Improvement in rural communities (+2.0 EPPY) is occurring at roughly the same rate as in large cities (+2.1 EPPY)

With CLI scores of 93, Victoria and Ottawa are now the top performers among Canada's major cities, followed by Calgary and Gatineau at 92.
The Composite Learning Index uses statistical indicators that reflect the many ways Canadians learn, whether in school, in the home, at work or within the community.

The indicators are grouped around four pillars originally identified by UNESCO:

Learning to Know—the development of skills and knowledge such as literacy, numeracy, and critical thinking. Participation in post-secondary education is an example of an indicator in this area.

Learning to Do—the acquisition of applied skills, closely tied to occupational success, such as workplace training.

Learning to Live Together—the cultivation of respect and concern for others. This tends to measure social cohesion. An example is involvement in clubs and organizations

Learning to Be—areas of learning that are related to creativity, personal development, and health in the physical, social and spiritual senses. Access to broadband internet is one example.

The CLI has attracted the attention and interest of Europe and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. In addition, the structure and method of the CLI has been technically assessed as "internally sound and robust" by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre, which specializes in developing and assessing composite indices.

Table A : Most-improved cities in Canada

City CLI trend (EPPY*)

St. John’s (NL) + 9.3
Saanich (BC) + 6.3
Kitchener (ON) + 6.1
Laval (QC) + 5.8
Saint John (NB) + 5.7
Cambridge (ON) + 5.6
Charlottetown (PEI) + 5.3
Kelowna (BC) + 5.3
Lévis (QC) + 4.9
Gatineau (QC) + 4.8

* EPPY = estimated points per year

The Canadian Council on Learning is an independent, not-for-profit corporation funded through an agreement with Human Resources and Social Development Canada. Its mandate is to promote and support evidence-based decisions about learning throughout all stages of life, from early childhood through to the senior years.

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