Pam Chetwynd of Shelburne County, dropped out of school at theage of 14 to start working. More than 25 years later, Pam is ahigh school graduate ready to start a new career in a long-termcare facility. Pam is one of 40 students graduating today, June 10, and Friday,June 11 after completing the Adult Learning Program at theLunenburg, Shelburne and Burridge campuses of the Nova ScotiaCommunity College (NSCC). “I returned to school because I wanted to do something with mylife,” said Pam. “By completing my high school diploma, I provedto myself I can do it.” The Adult Learning Program is supported by the Nova Scotia Schoolfor Adult Learning, which funds and co-ordinates a range ofeducation programs for adults wanting to improve their readingand math skills or complete their high school diplomas. “Through the School for Adult Learning, Nova Scotians, like Pam,get the skills they need to succeed at home, at work and in thecommunity,” said Education Minister Jamie Muir. “The school ispart of our effort to ensure people can return to learning andhelp pave the way to a brighter future for themselves and theirfamilies.” The School for Adult Learning is funded by the departments ofEducation and Community Services. “Ensuring NSCC is accessible to all Nova Scotians who want topursue formal learning is key to the province’s economic,community and social development — that is what the AdultLearning Program represents,” said Mike Smith, NSCC’s dean ofaccess. “By creating a welcoming and supportive learningenvironment to acquire a high school diploma, adults can accessnew possibilities and achieve a new foundation for futuresuccesses. NSCC is proud to partner with the Department ofEducation in this progressive initiative that will improve thelives of many Nova Scotians.” More than 400 Nova Scotians are graduating this month with thehigh school diploma for adults. This year, more than 4,100 NovaScotians were enrolled in programs supported by the School forAdult Learning at more than 170 sites across the province. Theprograms for adults are delivered by the Nova Scotia CommunityCollege, Université Sainte-Anne, five regional school boards andcommunity-based learning organizations. The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning is part of theprovincial government’s Skills Nova Scotia initiative, whichinvolves training and skills upgrading, from basic literacy tothe use of the most sophisticated technologies.
Five million people became infected with HIV worldwide and 3 million died this year alone – the highest ever, says “AIDS Epidemic Update 2003,” published to mark World AIDS Day on 1 December. In 2002 4.8 million people contracted the disease and 2.75 million infected people died, UNAIDS said.Commenting on the report, UNAIDS Executive Director Peter Piot said, “It is quite clear that our current global efforts remain entirely inadequate for an epidemic that is continuing to spiral out of control. “AIDS is tightening its grip on southern Africa and threatening other regions of the world. Today’s report warns regions experiencing newer HIV epidemics that they can either act now or pay later – as Africa is now having to pay.” “Effective HIV prevention programmes must be scaled up dramatically if we want a realistic chance at reducing the number of new infections,” he added. The UNAIDS/WHO report says surprisingly little is being done in Africa to implement even the most basic, cost-effective HIV-prevention efforts, outside of Senegal and Uganda. No national orphan programmes exist, voluntary counselling and testing are threadbare, and prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission is virtually non-existent, it says. About 30 per cent of people living with HIV/AIDS worldwide live in southern Africa, an area that is home to just 2 per cent of the world’s population. South Africa alone is home to an estimated 5.3 million people with HIV at the end of 2002, more than any other country in the world, the report says. In sub-Saharan Africa overall, an estimated 26.6 million people are living with HIV, it says. Meanwhile, as prevalence rates in Eastern Europe and Central Asia continue to grow, a new wave of HIV epidemics is threatening China, India, Indonesia and Russia, mostly due to HIV transmission through injecting narcotics use and unsafe sex, it says.WHO, the convening agency for HIV care in UNAIDS, says it and its partners are developing a global strategy to make antiretroviral treatment available to 3 million people by 2005, a project known as the ‘3 by 5’ initiative. “The World Health Organization will unveil detailed implementation plans for ‘3 x 5’ next week, to coincide with the commemoration of World AIDS Day,” said Dr Lee Jong-Wook, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “This represents an unprecedented drive to increase the number of people receiving treatment. For ‘3 x 5’ to succeed, however, and for treatment access to increase further in the future, the international community must continue to increase its financial and logistical support.” A separate report from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), called “Africa’s Orphaned Generations,” says AIDS has already orphaned more than 11 million African children, half of them between the ages of 10 and 14. “We need to move beyond feeling beleaguered to feeling outraged by the unacceptable suffering of children. We must keep parents alive, and ensure that orphans and other vulnerable children stay in school, and are protected from exploitation and abuse,” UNICEF Executive Director Carol Bellamy said. Listen to UN Radio report