OECD report says one-fifth of Australian adults have limited literacy, numeracy skills

Feb 14, 2019 by

By Pallavi Singhal –

More than 20 per cent of Australian adults have very low literacy, numeracy and digital problem-solving skills and are the least likely groups to be engaging in adult education programs to reskill and upskill for a changing workforce.

“More than one in five Australians can at most complete very simple reading or mathematical tasks, such as reading brief texts on familiar topics or understanding basic percentages,” a new report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has found.

“Upskilling them will be crucial to maintaining and increasing Australia’s competitiveness.”

Adults with low skill levels are far less likely to participate in education and training than those with high-level skills. Only 23 per cent of low-skilled Australian adults are engaged in education, compared with 48 per cent of all adults

The findings come at a time of widespread changes in job markets across the world, with about 32 per cent of the jobs analysed across 32 OECD countries likely to change significantly and another 14 per cent to potentially become fully automated, the report says.

Angela Knox, an associate professor of work and organisational studies at the University of Sydney, said that lowest- and highest-level jobs were likely to remain while middle-level jobs were likely to disappear, creating more structural inequalities.

Source: Education: OECD report says one-fifth of Australian adults have limited literacy, numeracy skills

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