FREDERICTON (GNB) – A two-day Provincial Forum on Learning that concluded today in Fredericton has laid the foundation for New Brunswickers to build Canada’s learning province, said Premier David Alward.

The forum brought together more than 70 participants, including leaders from community and learning organizations, government, universities and colleges, and the private sector.

Alward called it an historic event where residents, communities, and government worked in partnership to establish a new vision to transform New Brunswick’s future through education.

“New Brunswickers live in a world that is changing at an unprecedented pace, so it is absolutely vital that we develop a culture of learning that can move our province forward,” said Alward, one of the co-chairs of the event. “If we don’t re-imagine and re-engineer the ways we learn, our families and communities will not be able to benefit from the quality of life and economic prosperity we enjoy today.”

Lise Ouellette, acting principal of the Edmundston campus of the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick, and John Herron, president of the Atlantica Centre for Energy, joined Alward as co-chairs for the forum.

Alward thanked the many partners who contributed to the success of the forum and the two-year citizen engagement initiative entitled Learning: Everybody's Project.

“This forum is the result of two years and countless hours of dedication and effort by thousands of New Brunswickers to shape a dynamic learning agenda for New Brunswick,” Alward said. “I look forward to working with our partners to develop and implement New Brunswick's learning agenda.”

The three co-chairs of the learning initiative are Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Jody Carr; Andy Scott, former MP and federal minister and current executive director of the New Brunswick Social Policy Research Network; and Marie-Paule Thériault, an educator and former community college principal.

“Collaboration is key, government and residents recognize that,” said Carr. “We will succeed, individually and collectively, by working in collaboration toward the same goal on moving our province forward.”

“Over the course of the forum, participants reached a consensus on the vision, the principles and the actions,” said Carr. “These will be part of an on-going learning agenda and organizations, companies, NB2026 and various levels of government will play a role in its implementation.”

“What a wonderful adventure we began together 24 months ago,” Ouellette said. “Over the two days of the forum, we had the opportunity to put the work of several thousand New Brunswickers into practice by taking the next steps toward developing a learning plan for New Brunswick.”

The actions proposed and agreed upon among participants will form the basis of an ongoing Learning Agenda to be put together through the co-ordination of the NB2026 Roundtable.

“The purpose of the NB2026 Learning Initiative is to create a cultural shift among New Brunswickers with the aim of strengthening our culture of learning,” Scott said. “The deliverable for this project is a Learning Agenda for New Brunswick that has been created by New Brunswickers and will be implemented by New Brunswickers.”

“Participants in the learning forum discussed and endorsed the 24 proposed actions that came out of the public and deliberative dialogues held as part of the learning initiative contained in the document: Learn: For Life!,” Thériault said.

“As we prepare to carry this on-going learning agenda forward into our lives and work, I want to remind everyone that it is not just one group that will make this happen, but everyone must be involved,” said Herron. “That is why learning is everyone's project.”

Launched in November 2010, the goal of Learning: Everybody's Project has been to connect and engage citizens in a conversation on the value of lifelong learning. The object of the initiative was to engage with New Brunswickers on creating and sustaining a learning culture in the province.


●    Learning: Everybody’s Project