Deux femmes qui lisent un livre

25th anniversary of the Foundation

The Foundation is envisaging several development prospects in the context of its 25th anniversary: 

Distribute 50,000 books a year in the 17 administrative regions of Quebec

Distribute 50,000 books, 20,000 of them to children aged 0–5, in order to encourage contact with books from the earliest age. Elicit the participation of 500 establishments, organizations and companies in the distribution of the books. Establish reading partnerships with organizations and stakeholders operating in underprivileged areas, including schools, parents, grassroots organizations and companies.

Encourage adults to go back to school

  • Increase to 10,000 the number of adults wishing to go back to school with assistance from the Referral Department, through its Info-Alpha and Adult Learnline phone lines and information sessions in organizations.
  • Increase advertising of the Info‑Alpha line.
  • Reserve Web space on the Foundation site for online applications.
  • Incorporate an online application component dedicated to employers wishing to set up corporate basic training programs for their workers.
  • Upgrade the telephone infrastructure.

Increase the Foundation’s visibility and profile

  • Update the Web site.
  • Promote the strategic use of social media.
  • Develop awareness channels and adoption of Foundation positions.
  • Increase the presence of the cause in the media. 

Publicize the organization’s 25th anniversary

Take advantage of these opportunities to raise the organization’s profile and increase its funding. 

Publish a collection of literary works catering to adults who are poor readers or learning French©

  • An original, exclusive program in the French-speaking world: offer a literary collection aimed at adults who are poor readers, in paper and digital versions.
  • Establish public and private partnerships to provide startup financing.
  • Aim for the publication of five new titles each year.
  • Extend the distribution networks in Quebec, to Francophones outside Quebec and to French-speaking countries. 

History of literacy 

Prior to 1965

Responsibility for literacy training for adult Quebecers was essentially assumed by religious organizations, often through charitable services offered to the neediest in society. 

There was no mandatory schooling for children, and the socio-economic conditions in which families, often large, lived frequently forced young people to leave school in order to support their families by taking a job or joining the family business. Aside from the liberal professions, few trades required a minimum level of education or vocational training acquired at school. 

It was only in 1964 that education became mandatory for all children up to the age of 16. 

From 1965 to 1980

A number of schools in poorer areas began to offer training for adults, in order to teach them to read and write. To begin with, though, they used the same material as in classes for children. Only gradually, and at the request of the adults themselves, was material designed that was more closely geared to their needs and concerns. 

At the same time, numerous citizens’ committees and grassroots educational organizations were established in underprivileged neighbourhoods, and many set up adult literacy training services, designing adapted material and guiding the training toward an objective whereby individuals and communities took charge of their living environments, an objective of social transformation. In that context, literacy training was associated with fighting poverty. 

From the 1980s to the 2000s

From the 1980s onward, literacy became a social issue which school boards’ adult education centres and grassroots educational organizations addressed by offering training whose goals were, however, different, moving from purely learning the code (functional literacy training) to teaching reading and writing as a tool for social transformation (consciousness-raising literacy training). 

By 1990, the Ministry of Education had made literacy training a priority, and this commitment was reiterated in 2002 in the Action Plan for Adult Education and Continuing Education and Training. The Ministry recognized and financially supported two literacy networks: school boards, and autonomous grassroots literacy organizations, of which there are now more than 150 spread across the whole of Quebec. 

Future challenges

The rapid development of technology has turned the labour market upside down and raised the level of requirements adult Quebecers have to meet in terms of knowledge and skills if they want a job or hope to advance within a company. The range of core notions that have to be mastered in order to function well in society on a daily basis is constantly expanding. Beyond the efforts already invested by the two officially recognized networks with respect to literacy training, it is now imperative that corporate basic training be established, as that is an essential condition for enabling workers to take ownership of the new rules and tools of production and contribute to economic prosperity. 

In addition, the mass influx of new citizens through immigration to meet the needs of the labour market poses some significant challenges, in particular with respect to French‑language training and the integration of this new population into Quebec society.