Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Major international adult literacy survey underway in NZ

Major international adult literacy survey underway in NZ

A major international adult literacy survey is underway in New Zealand. A workforce literacy export says, rather than waiting for the results, the Government and employers can learn from Australia’s survey findings and start taking action now.

Australia and New Zealand, and 32 other countries, are participating in the most comprehensive survey of adult skills ever undertaken – the International Survey of Adult Skills (ISAS), which is co-ordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Australia’s survey has already taken place and New Zealand’s is running between April and December this year, with the findings to be reported in 2016.

The ISAS survey assesses adults’ literacy and numeracy skills and ability to solve problems in technology-rich environments that are typically found in a modern economy.

The OECD analysis of international results shows a direct correlation between countries’ incomes and the proportion of adults with the highest levels of literacy or numeracy proficiency. Positive correlations can also be seen between workforce literacy levels, and productivity and employment. This survey of adult’s literacy and other key skills is the third in a series of similar surveys with New Zealand’s previous results having been published in 1996 and 2007.

Katherine Percy, CEO of workplace literacy development organisation Workbase, says previous surveys showed New Zealand’s adult literacy skills to be similar to Australia and other developed countries, so we should take note of their already published survey results.

Australia’s survey showed that nearly half of adults aged 15 to 74 years lacked the literacy and numeracy skills needed to meet the complex demands of everyday life and work in a knowledge-based economy. Tellingly, an international survey in New Zealand and Australia seven years ago had similar results.

Over the past decade, data from these surveys and employer concern has increased government awareness about the impacts of low workforce literacy levels.

The Australian Industry Group (an industry association representing more than 60,000 businesses) surveyed employers and found 93% identified that low level literacy and numeracy skills had a wide range of impacts on their businesses and evidence suggests there is a similar situation in New Zealand,” she says.

Employers on both sides of the Tasman commonly experience problems with inadequately completed workplace documents and reports and time and materials wastage.

Ms Percy notes that challenges involving paperwork are the tip of the iceberg: “we often hear business owners expressing concern about difficulties implementing innovation and change. Some issues stem from a mismatch between how complex, unfamiliar and technical information is written and conveyed to employees, and the skills required for understanding it.”

As was found in Australia, New Zealand employers often recognise that their people have literacy, language and/or numeracy gaps but don’t know how to address this.

“Many employers want to do the right thing by their employees but simply don’t know where to begin. Very few human resources managers and trainers responsible for employee development know how to build literacy and numeracy skills into training,” she says.

“More government attention in areas such as tertiary training will help to lift adults’ literacy, language and numeracy skill levels.

There also needs to be a co-ordinated approach between government, industry and business to better understand the workplace literacy demands inherent in current and future vocational pathways, identify the workforce’s needs and gaps, and tailor appropriate solutions.

“Good adult literacy, language and numeracy are the cornerstone for success in a knowledge economy and there is an increasing need for stronger skills in these areas. More than a million New Zealand adults are employed so taking bold action to improve these skills within our workforce will have huge flow-on benefits for individuals, their employers and New Zealand as a whole,” she says.

“It may be another two years before we know exactly what the ISAS survey will find about adult and workforce literacy in New Zealand but history has shown that it is likely to closely mirror Australia’s results. Everyone wins when adult literacy is improved, so let’s learn from Australia’s experience and start making changes now.”

For more information about the survey, visit: www.educationcounts.govt.nz/topics/research/ISAS

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Book Awards: Jill Trevelyan's Story Of Peter McLeavey Is Book Of The Year

The story of Wellington art dealer Peter McLeavey and his gallery has won the prestigious New Zealand Post Book of the Year 2014 in a glittering ceremony in Wellington. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: King Richard

Simon Nathan reviews 'Richard Seddon, King of God’s Own': My father grew up in Wellington during Seddon’s premiership... I can recall him standing under the Seddon statue in the grounds of parliament and telling me that Seddon had more backbone than Sid Holland and all his cabinet colleagues put together.. More>>

8 October: Miley Cyrus Bangerz Tour Coming To Auckland!

Dainty Group announced today that global superstar Miley Cyrus will bring her BANGERZ TOUR to New Zealand in October this year. This will be Miley’s first ever visit to New Zealand and there will only be one Auckland show before she takes her tour to Australia. More>>

ALSO:

Music: Lorde NZ Tour Confirmed In Four Major Cities!

In what will be her first ever New Zealand headline tour, Frontier Touring and Brent Eccles Entertainment are stoked to bring you four epic shows across the country! The all ages concerts take place late October/ early November in Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Poor Economics

A review of and excerpt from Jonathan Boston and Simon Chapple’s Child Poverty in New Zealand. More>>

Head Count: Highest Population Growth Since 2003

The country’s population grew by 67,800 people, or 1.5 percent, in the year to 30 June 2014. This came from natural increase (births minus deaths) of 29,500 and net migration (arrivals minus departures) of 38,300. New Zealand's estimated resident population was 4.51 million at 30 June 2014. More>>

Fun-Enhancement: Research To Ensure Even Game For Less Skilled Players

A University of Canterbury engineering PhD student is researching sports, such as table tennis, to ensure closer games for both better and less skilled players. More>>

Werewolf: From The Lost Continent

It’s a case of better late than never for Olivier Assayas’ marvellous After May/Apres Mai, which first screened at Venice in 2012, got a theatrical release in Australia – but not here – and only now appears on DVD, after Assayas himself has moved on. More>>

ALSO:

Werewolf: Blue Eyed & Soulful

Last year’s Muscle Shoals documentary was a reminder that on some of soul music’s most hallowed tracks, the studio band consisted of a bunch of white guys from rural Alabama... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news