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Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALL) Survey

7 December 2007

Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALL) Survey release Friday 7 December 2007.

Literacy Aotearoa welcomes the release of the Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALL) Survey. In particular we note the improvement in the Document Literacy results for adults in the survey results. The results show that there has been a reduction in the proportion of adults in Levels One and Two from those reported in the 1996 International Adult Literacy Survey.

Bronwyn Yates, Te Tumuaki (CEO) of Literacy Aotearoa, noted the importance in remembering that the results published today from the Adult Literacy and Life Skill Survey focus on only two of the four components of the survey. “Literacy Aotearoa is keen to see the results from the Prose Literacy and Problem Solving components so as to gain a clearer picture of the overall results for the Adult Literacy and Life Skills for adults living in Aotearoa.”

The results of the survey indicate the levels of literacy and numeracy difficulty that prevent people from fully utilising their skills, knowledge and intelligence. This is valuable data that can inform the development of Government strategies to ensure equitable access to quality literacy learning opportunities and achievement of the Tertiary Education Strategy Goals.

Despite the improvement recognised in Document Literacy, the report shows that there is a considerable level of need to be addressed. 43% of those surveyed have high document literacy needs. They will have had difficulties reading and interpreting information found in graphs, charts and tables. 51% of those surveyed have high numeracy needs. They will have experienced difficulties calculating and estimating.

It is important to recognise that people who experience difficulty have developed coping skills and still carry out literacy tasks everyday in their homes, workplaces and communities. For many the gaps in their competencies may restrict the extent that they can be involved in their communities, at work, their whanau/family, with their children’s school and coping with chronic illness, to name a few aspects.

If Government is to achieve its targets to significantly improve literacy levels for the adult population, then additional resources are needed to support learning opportunities for people to make literacy gains.

Literacy Aotearoa is a national network of over 50 adult literacy providers. “Every year we work with over 6500 adults seeking to improve their literacy skills, and every year we witness the positive gains these adults make in their lives, and for their families. We hear the stories of the huge impact of their personal development, in their home, in their workplace, in their community.

This is a significant issue to be addressed and New Zealand has the ability to do so. Literacy Aotearoa is part of a larger sector of providers, industries, unions and Government agencies committed to establishing and providing best-fit solutions to effectively meet the adult literacy needs of New Zealand.

ENDS

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