Don't take it as read
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One in five adult Australians have low literacy and/or numeracy. This means that around three million adults do not have the skills to meet the demands of work and life. The response of Australian governments has largely been to provide programs and funding for adult literacy education to help people find employment and to raise income and productivity. While this perspective is important, there are other reasons why low levels of literacy must be addressed, including to ensure all Australians are able to enjoy their basic economic, social, legal and political rights.
Chapter 2 examines the benefits of investing in adult language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy (LLND) skills, including helping Australia to become a more prosperous, competitive economy, and assisting Australians to:
- support their children’s education
- improve their health and wellbeing
- participate fully in modern Australia and be better able to adapt to the technological and structural changes Australia may experience in the future
- actively engage as informed citizens in Australia’s democracy
- better access public and private services and make informed legal and financial decisions
Chapter 3 examines factors that contribute to LLND skills gaps among Australian adults, including individual’s experiences of:
- early childhood education
- school education
- disengagement from school education, shame and stigma
- the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chapter 4 examines the range of Australian, state and territory government and community-based adult LLND education programs and providers that are currently available, and their capacity to meet the demand and diverse needs of the community. It also considers options for a new national LLND strategy and examines the support that is available for people with low LLND skills to engage with services, including government services, that may be inaccessible to them, particularly as most services move online.