Education Matters: Insights on Education, Learning and Training in Canada, April 2008, Vol. 4, No. 5
Authors: Evelyne Bougie
Collection: Research Materials
Based on findings from the 2003 International Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (IALLS), this article examines the literacy proficiency of First Nations and Métis adults living in urban parts of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
The IALLS results show that those adults performed at lower literacy proficiency levels than their non-Aboriginal counterparts. At the same time, analysis of the results confirms that, as is the case among the non-Aboriginal population, higher levels of formal education were consistently associated with higher levels of literacy proficiency.
As well, data show that the percentage of employed Aboriginal individuals was consistently higher among those who had literacy proficiency at or above Level 3 than among those who scored below this benchmark. In contrast, this difference was almost nil among the non-Aboriginal populations.
The author emphasizes that the IALSS does not take into account the different kinds of literacy practices that are valued in Aboriginal cultures, nor does it assess literacy in an Aboriginal language. However, in an urban context, the ability to use and understand the kind of information assessed through the survey is likely to be linked to many positive outcomes in life.