Since the early 1960s, British Columbians have had a rich history of Adult Basic Education (ABE) courses and programs. ABE provides access to courses and skills training ranging from basic literacy through to provincial level and adult secondary school completion. ABE programs support learners to achieve one or more of the following goals: high school graduation, further education, employability skills, and life management skills. These courses are offered both in the public post-secondary institutions and British Columbia (BC) school districts. In both systems, ABE courses are offered in a variety of settings and with a variety of delivery methods.
In the school district system (K-12), adult graduation programs are offered through all 60 school districts. The focus of these adult programs is graduation, but adults can also take courses in the K-12 system to upgrade. Adult students have a choice of completing the regular BC Certificate of Graduation, or the BC Adult Graduation Diploma (BCAGD), which has the same foundational course requirements but requires fewer electives.
In the PSE system, ABE programs are delivered by 18 post-secondary institutions, and include programs focused on literacy, basic education or academic upgrading, employment preparation, English as a Second Language and Adult Special Education. These programs provide flexible learning opportunities for adult learners and are designed for the large number of British Columbians in need of basic skills or language training to participate fully in society and the economy. ABE programs in the PSE system are offered in a variety of formats ranging from semester classes to self-paced individualized instruction, including distance (online) education and community outreach with tutoring assistance. Programs are fully articulated, allowing for course transferability around the province. Adult learners may choose to take courses as prerequisites for other programs in the PSE or work toward their BCAGD (ABE Handbook, 2020).