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Alfred Fitzpatrick

He was born in Pictou County, Nova Scotia in 1862 and attended Pictou Academy which is famous for producing scholars who have become leaders in many fields.

As the founder of Canada's first adult education institution [Frontier College], Fitzpatrick spread his belief in education for all adults - no matter who they were or where they lived - to the farthest frontiers of the country. He involved men and women of all backgrounds by taking to the manual workers a program of basic literacy, secondary and even university education. Alfred Fitzpatrick This was long before other educational and government institutions realized the importance of outreach programs.

Fitzpatrick introduced the idea of the Labourer-Teacher - that is the instructor would work alongside the labourers during the day and teach them in the evenings when the work was done.

He also believed that new immigrants to Canada should receive language training and that in addition they should be helped to understand the culture and traditions of their new home so that they would fit in better. In order to help this Canadianization process, Fitzpatrick wrote The Handbook for New Canadians. His vision was ahead of his time and some ways ahead of ours. Today, in this age of technological change and information overload, a critical and literate mind is more essential than ever. As literacy continues to be vital to survival in Canada's society, Frontier College and other literacy organizations carry on the work started by Alfred Fitzpatrick.

James H. Morrison

Handbook for New Canadians (pdf)
The University in Overalls (pdf)

See also

Return to Makers of Canada Page




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