Are we learning less?

Red Deer’s score on learning trends has nosedived from last year, but remains well above the national average.

Red Deer’s score on learning trends has nosedived from last year, but remains well above the national average.

The Canadian Council on Learning released its annual Community Learning Index report on Thursday, generating scores for nearly 5,000 communities across Canada. The national score has fallen from 77 to 75 for 2009, while Red Deer’s score dropped from 93 to 82.

But there’s a disclaimer. The data used to compile the scores were gathered last year, before the economy hit the skids.

That’s a key factor in considering the message behind the numbers, said Cyndy Lorincz, associate vice-president of student services at Red Deer College.

Interest in education declines when people are working and increases when jobs are scarce, said Lorincz. As people lose their jobs, they become more interested in upgrading their skills and they also look for courses and assistance in debt management and career planning, she said.

Most valuable from the college perspective is the way the CLI shows trends from generation to generation, including population information.

Information on the types of students attending high school in the region and the types of courses that will draw them into a post-secondary education becomes part of the discussion when the college is laying out its learning plans, said Lorincz.

Based mainly on data collected by Statistics Canada, the scoring system measures a community’s learning opportunities and the level those opportunities are used on a variety of different parameters, said Jarrett Laughlin, senior research analyst with the Ottawa-based council.

Scores include access to formal education, time spent reading, participation in cultural volunteer activities and the amount of time people spend watching sports, going to museums or attending live theatre.

For example, 14.4 per cent of Red Deer residents entered university in the 2009 report, compared with 19 per cent in each of the previous two years.

At the same time, the number of people getting training on the job rose from 30 per cent in the 2007 report to 37.2 per cent in 2008 and 39.2 per cent in the new report.

At some point, the Learning Council would like to be able to compare Canada’s composite learning index with other countries, said Laughlin.

But no other country has adopted a similar program, although Germany is using Canada as a model to develop a CLI for the European Union.

Details, including scores for most communities in the Red Deer region, are available online at www.ccl-cca.ca/cli

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Man from Olds killed in collision near Sundre

A 39-year-old man from Olds was killed in a collision near Sundre… Continue reading

Tips to keep crime at bay this Christmas

’Tis the season for joy and celebration, but the Christmas season can… Continue reading

Olympic ski run designer creates upgrades at Canyon Ski Resort

Jeff Ihaksi says free-style and alpine ski venues are Canada Winter Games-worthy

Updated: Collision expert backs version of crash of driver accused of manslaughter

Daniel Newsham accused of manslaughter in fatal 2016 collision

WATCH: More than 100 protest UN migration pact, carbon tax in Red Deer

Chants of “Trudeau must go” echoed through the streets of downtown Red… Continue reading

Tkachuk’s goal in 3rd gives Flames 2-1 win over Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Matthew Tkachuk scored the go-ahead goal midway through… Continue reading

Women use scent to lure wolf-dog that ran away from Calgary airport

EDMONTON — A woman from Alberta is thanking an unconventional strategy for… Continue reading

Suspect in Alberta, Saskatchewan bank robberies to get mental assessment

MEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A former Winnipeg broadcaster and journalism instructor accused… Continue reading

Trudeau to make it harder for future PM to reverse Senate reforms

OTTAWA — Justin Trudeau says his government hopes to make legal changes… Continue reading

No winning ticket for Friday night’s $60 million Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $60 million jackpot… Continue reading

All evacuation orders lifted in deadly California wildfire

PARADISE, Calif. — All evacuation orders have been lifted in Paradise more… Continue reading

All aflutter about our feathered friends

Christmas Bird Count will be held Dec. 23

Baylor ties pervade rape case that sparked uproar

DALLAS — The Texas judge who approved a plea deal allowing a… Continue reading

Most Read