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New Report Highlights Concerning Literacy Levels In Australia

A new report conducted by Code REaD has revealed that around 50 per cent of Tasmanians read above level two.

The Programme for International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) survey conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is designed to evaluate adult skills, including reading and writing abilities in real-life situations. 

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The survey has shown that while Australia performed well internationally, many Australians faced challenges with everyday tasks requiring literacy skills.

Around 620,000 Australians aged 15 to 75, constituting 3.7 per cent of the population, have literacy skills below PIAAC level 1, indicating very basic or no reading and writing skills. 

An additional 1.7 million Australian adults, or 10.4 per cent of the population, possess literacy at PIAAC level 1. This means that over 2.3 million Australian adults lack the fundamental literacy skills necessary for daily tasks.

Compared to other OECD countries, Australia’s performance is on par with nations like New Zealand and the United States.

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“Across Australia, and across the Western World… there is actually a problem with low literacy,” Alison Mitchell, the 26TEN service coordinator, told Forty South Tasmania.

“The World Literacy Foundation estimated the cost of illiteracy for developed nations at two per cent of GDP,” said in the report.

The report finds that developing the nation’s literacy will cost the Australian economy up to $44 billion a year.

“This requires system-wide collaboration at scale between Commonwealth and State and Territory Governments, as well as involvement from non-government school sectors, school boards, teachers, parents, and the wider Australian community,” said in the report.

Experts warn that neglecting investments in literacy will perpetuate an education system that consigns a substantial portion of children to struggle with reading difficulties.

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