This has been quite a year for April Stone. The young mother returned to school to get her high school diploma and, along the way, wrote a published short story, received a nomination for the Council of Federation Literacy award and won a Student Leadership Award. She also lost her home and belongings to an electrical fire. “It’s been a heartbreaking year, but I never gave up with my learning,” said Ms. Stone. “I am very proud of everything I’ve accomplished and for the opportunity Nova Scotia Community College gave me.” This year, more than 500 students across the province will receive the high school graduation diploma for adults through the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning. Today, June 16, Ms. Stone is one of 17 students receiving their diplomas from the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC)in the Strait Area. The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning co-ordinates a range of education programs for adults who want to improve their reading and math skills, or complete their high school diploma. This year marks the school’s fifth anniversary and the graduation of almost 2,000 Nova Scotians with a high school diploma for adults. “The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning is meeting a significant need in our province,” said Jamie Muir, Minister of Education. “In just five years, more than 20,000 students have enrolled to improve their education, and ultimately, their job skills. I’d like to congratulate them for taking steps toward a brighter future for themselves and their families.” The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning works in partnership with the NSCC, regional school boards, Université Sainte-Anne and community-based learning organizations to offer programs at more than 170 sites across the province. “The beautiful thing about the Adult Learning Program is the fact that it immediately opens up a million and one doors,” said Mike Smith, dean, school of access at NSCC. “We now know a high school diploma is essential for skill development and further learning. NSCC is proud to partner with the Department of Education in this progressive initiative that continues to improve the lives of many Nova Scotians.” The Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning is part of the provincial government’s Skills Nova Scotia initiative, which involves training and skills upgrading, from basic literacy to workplace learning and job skills training.
“The aim of holding these public hearings…was to show the human side of the suffering, to give a voice to the victims so that they are not lost among statistics,” Justice Richard Goldstone, who leads the four-member mission, told journalists. Mr. Goldstone said his team had listened to “moving stories” that were “very difficult to hear” concerning the impact of the fighting that took place between 27 December and 18 January, many from victims who had lost members of their families and their livelihoods.“No written words can by themselves convey human stories the way people can do it in their own voice and words,” he said.With the conclusion of the hearings in Geneva, as well as those held last week in Gaza City, the mission is moving towards the end of its investigative phase, Mr. Goldstone said.In addition to their investigations on the ground in Gaza, the team had also travelled to Amman, Jordan, to hear from Israelis and people from the West Bank. Mr. Goldstone said that he would be sending questions soon to authorities from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, asking for input on areas where his team had been unable to gather sufficient information.The mission’s final report is due to be completed early next month and will be presented in September to the Human Rights Council. 7 July 2009The United Nations Human Rights Council’s fact-finding probe into rights violations committed during the recent Gaza conflict heard from victims, witnesses and experts from southern Israel and the West Bank over two days of public hearings which wrapped up in Geneva today.