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GED Graduating Class of 2013

Distance learning courses making it easier to continue education

Everyone loves the serenity of rural New Brunswick. The peace, tranquility and neighbourly friendliness make it a safe haven for many who never want to leave.

But sometimes being a 40 minute drive or more outside of a major centre can make it difficult to get things locally. Many people have to travel into the nearest city to get what they need.

Thankfully, a non-profit organization is ensuring that learning opportunities are not on that travel list by offering adult learning courses and computer access centres in local communities.

Miramichi Adult Learning Inc. (MALI), in partnership with the Regional Adult Learning Coordinator form the department of Post-Secondary Education Training offers a series of adult education courses to help adults either upgrade their skills or obtain their GED (General Education Degree) in the comforts of their own community. They also oversee the community access centres, giving students and the community the option to utilize and familiarize themselves with computers.

Two examples of these groupings are in the Boiestown and Tabusintac areas. Both communities are at least a 45 minute drive from Miramichi, making it difficult to travel into the city on a regular basis for academic and computer training.

These programs and access centres have been a part of these two communities for some time, but acting separately. Recently, the two centres joined the MALI network, which combines all of the resources the network has to offer giving learners and communities more educational options.

In this week’s Miramichi Leader edition we are featuring the Boiestown centre. Next week, we will focus on the centre in Tabusintac.

In Boiestown the adult GED programs, which are taught at the Upper Miramichi Regional High School, have been offered for about 10 years, according to MALI board member Wes Tingley – to great success.

“In the past three years, I would say we’ve had 20 to 25 people go through the program here in Boiestown,” Tingley said.

Some of the adult learners have gone on and enrolled in other post-secondary training to prepare for the workplace and develop other specialized skills for the job market.

In fact, it’s become so widely recognized that people as far away as Minto have inquired about the programs.

Tingley noted that since joining the MALI network, the Boiestown NOVA Learning Centre has become more popular. That is in part due to the board of directors who has strived to bring attention to the programs, and the local instructors who promote and advocate for Adult Education in the community.

“It is wonderful to have such programs offered in the local community,” Tingley said. “I believe people recognize that learning is a life-long adventure. Now, in conjunction with MALI and the NOVA Learning Centre, opportunities are offered for upgrading and high school completion.”

“Many of the jobs that once provided a livelihood and job security have disappeared due to changes with technology, restructuring and the current state of the economy. As a result, people are adapting and looking at retraining and other career paths,” said Tingley.

The Boiestown branch of MALI lies within the riding of Hon. Rick Brewer, Minister of Human Resources who believes in the programs value.

“I have a sense that some people are apprehensive because they quit their education program when they were younger they’re a little bit intimidated,” Brewer said, adding that their self-confidence levels are often lower.

Brewer holds the program and staff in high regard for the sensitivity and training they offer students.

“There is nothing to fear,” Brewer said, noting that a lot of people would be surprised to find out who took these courses. They would think ‘why didn’t I do this a long time ago?’

Brewer even met a senior who finished his GED education a few years ago and could feel the sense of pride this man had.

Both Brewer and Tingley added that the programming works because the staff at the NOVA Learning Centre and MALI’s board of directors recognize the need for flexibility concerning program and training needs.

“There is no doubt that the strength of the program lies in its respect of individual needs and requirements,” Tingley said.

“Adult learners find the instruction to be very personalized and they appreciate the flexibility, care and concern from the instructors,” noted Tingley.

Miramichi Leader
Fri Mar 13 2009
Page: C4
Section: Community
Byline: Aimee Barry – Literacy