Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Monday, July 7, 2008

gift horse

Just in case you missed this ...

The OLES Call for Proposals for Literacy and Essential Skills for Those Entering or In the Workplace is now open. The call is pretty narrow -- in this call OLES will support two types of activities:
* A. The development and application of new tools and models that help individuals entering or in the workplace to improve their literacy and essential skills; and
* B. The adaptation, distribution, promotion and application of existing workplace focused literacy and essential skills tools and models

The rationale for the workplace call seems to reflect the change from a literacy-as-a-human-right approach to a literacy-as-a-vehicle-for-economic-competitiveness rhetoric described by Nancy Jackson in her interview with CBC's The Current on June 12, 2008. (Click on part 2 -- Nancy is on from about 3:55 to 14:40. Thanks Alpha for this link.)

Focusing on the workplace makes sense. According to the 2003 Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALLS), 76% of individuals with low levels of literacy and essential skills are in the labour force; either working or looking for work. Many of these Canadians face labour market challenges, including a lack of access to training and skills upgrading, lower earning potential, greater risk of being unemployed, and more difficulty in finding a new job if they do become unemployed. At the same time, Canada is facing skills shortages in certain occupations, sectors, and regions. For their part, employers report having difficulty finding people with the right mix of technical and literacy and essential skills needed for the workplace.

But --

In 2008-09 OLES plans to launch several Calls for Proposals (CFP), each with a specific theme. Themes will be based on needs identified through ongoing research, consultation, and dialogue with partners and stakeholders. Having different themes will allow OLES to better respond to Government of Canada priorities and to improve the success of Canadians in their families, communities and at work.

So perhaps we should not yet give up hope that there will be opportunities for the kind of field-expanding-and-deepening exploratory research, reflective practice and professional development that the National Literacy Secretariat tried to foster and nurture during its tenure.

P.S. At Literacies we are wondering if any of the proposals submitted to OLES in October 2007 were funded. We have heard about a number of proposals that were rejected but none that were approved. Does anyone know what was funded from that call?


Wendell Dryden said...

Hi gang.

We applied within the community stream and received a rejection letter. The four reasons they gave for rejecting the proposal were... well, made up, I guess.

In brief, we'd proposed to provide a physical "storytent start-up kit" with several hours of on-site training and additional hours of email follow-up support to six N.B. communities. (Storytents is the program we developed for a housing neighbourhood in our city, and a program others have expressed interest in.)

One of the reasons for rejection (paraphrased) was that we failed to demonstrate that this project didn't duplicate existing projects. (It doesn't.) Another was that it had no fixed end date. (No date, because we didn't know when the funding was coming, but there was certainly a closed time frame.) Another was that the project might require additional funding for completion. (Our budget clearly showed that this wasn't so...) ... well, like I said, they just seemed to be making stuff up.

Maybe it was a form letter. Maybe everybody got rejected for all the same reasons.

Anyway, we're like you: we don't know anybody who got any money from that stream.

Maybe there never was any money.

literacies publisher said...

Yes. I suspect that your experience is not an uncommon one. It sounds like a great proposal. It is real shame that it did not get funded.

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