Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Poor Literacy and Numeracy Skills Adversely Effecting Australian Businesses

As a one time adult educator, I was disappointed and somewhat astonished to read the following article on the ABC news site recently:
"The study says 93 per cent of businesses are being hurt by staff unable to do simple sums or use a computer. The AI Group says the learning problems are dragging Australia down, given the sophisticated skills required for a digital economy."
Read the full article here.

What a terrible indictment on Australia's education and training system. Or is it?

There is no mention of what percentage of employees speak English as another language, but given the huge numbers of immigrants coming to Australia on work visas or permanent residence visas, this may provide part of the answer.

Without wishing to scapegoat immigrants, it's important to know how many are immigrants and how many are Australian born. If the problem is with immigrants then we need to either increase the English and numeracy capacity they need to get a visa or provide suitable training after arrival.

If it's a problem within the Australian born population, we must adjust our national literacy and numeracy strategy to do a much better job. Perhaps businesses should also provide in-house training in document completion and associated literacy and numeracy.

With a society that is becoming more technologically advanced, anyone without the basic language, literacy and numeracy skills will be left behind. None of us wants to see that happen.

Robin

PS: Have you discovered literacy or numeracy problems where you work?

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