Published today - on UN International Literacy Day - the Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Select Committee has published a report recommending the Government launch a high-profile campaign to tackle the alarmingly low levels of adult literacy and numeracy in England. In light of an OECD survey of 24 countries ranking England and Northern Ireland 22nd for literacy and 21st for numeracy, the Committee also calls for:
A more joined-up Government approach to tackling the problem
Improved funding arrangements
Better assessment and support of the literacy and numeracy needs of unemployed people.
National Numeracy, which submitted both oral and written evidence to the Committee's inquiry, supports this report and its recommendations. Mike Ellicock, chief executive, says:
"National Numeracy strongly welcomes this new report from the BIS Select Committee. 17 million adults in England are working at the level expected at primary school in numeracy (compared with 5m for literacy). We are keen to work with all relevant Government departments to implement the recommendations of this report and start the journey to eradicating low-level numeracy in the country.
"As the Head of the OECD Research team states, good numeracy is the best protection against unemployment, low wages and poor health. It is therefore vital for individuals, society and the economy that we combat directly the social acceptability of ‘I can’t do maths’."