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

Just Posted

More police presence in Red Deer’s downtown starts this month

“We recognize… that citizens are concerned about safety,” said Mayor Veer

Red Deer RCMP look for fraud suspect

Purse stolen from fitness locker

One strong wind leaves years of replanting work for Red Deer parks staff

High visibility boulevards already replanted, neighbourhood work starts next year

Red Deer-area indigenous filmmakers invited to apply for $20,000 grant

Storyhive launches Indigenous Storyteller Edition

Restaurant closed after compliance team patrol

Public Safety Compliance Team checked eight bars and restaurants on Oct. 19

WATCH: Make-A-Wish grants Star Wars loving teen’s wish

The Make-A-Wish Foundation granted Anakin Suerink’s wish in Red Deer Saturday afternoon

Montreal Alouettes defensive lineman Woody Baron co-authors children’s book

TORONTO — Woody Baron finds the spectre of tangling with a hulking… Continue reading

Sundin not surprised Leafs asking stars to take less money to stay together

TORONTO — Mats Sundin isn’t surprised the Toronto Maple Leafs are asking… Continue reading

Anywhere but Washington: Why DC stories rarely film in DC

WASHINGTON — It’s a hobby among District of Columbia locals: Picking apart… Continue reading

‘Halloween’ scares up $77.5 million in ticket sales

LOS ANGELES — Forty years after he first appeared in theatres, Michael… Continue reading

iPhone XR makes the right trade-offs for a cheaper price

NEW YORK — Apple offers you a simple trade-off with its new… Continue reading

BMW to recall 1.6 million vehicles worldwide over fire risk

FRANKFURT — Automaker BMW says it is expanding a recall to cover… Continue reading

Calgary awaits federal financing on 2026, Notley suggests IOC could pay more

CALGARY — With the clock ticking towards a Calgary vote on hosting… Continue reading

Toronto Mayor John Tory cruises to victory; tech issues extend voting elsewhere

Toronto Mayor John Tory easily won re-election on Monday after a spirited… Continue reading

Most Read