The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD is seeking the views of the public on a new 10-year Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Digital Literacy Strategy.
Minister Harris said that 1 in 5 adults in Ireland struggle with reading everyday text, such as leaflets or medicine instructions, 1 in 4 adults in Ireland struggle with using numbers, for example, using basic arithmetic for daily tasks such as adding up a grocery bill and 1 in 2 adults struggle with digital skills.
"For many adults, this can be debilitating. It can prevent access to employment or education. Or it can be a barrier to the everyday tasks such as helping children with their homework or reading your prescriptions.
"We need to ensure we do everything we can to assist and improve those skills for people. To build an inclusive Ireland we must ensure services are accessible for everyone, whether that be through assisted digital innovations or access, support and information in your local area. We must develop innovative and creative ways to reach and support adults with unmet literacy, numeracy and digital literacy need and that is why I am launching this consultation process today,” he said.
The Minister said that they are hoping to hear from people from all walks on life on the development of this strategy.
“Whether you are someone who struggles with reading, writing, maths or digital literacy, whether you know someone who does, whether you are a media organisation, or a public or private sector body, we need your views,” he said.
SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority is to be tasked with the development of the strategy and report back within six months.
Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, said:
"Literacy and numeracy has long been a cornerstone of Further Education and Training (FET). The FET system already has a range of supports in this area with the new FET Strategy: Transforming Learning setting out a framework for further development. SOLAS is therefore delighted to be tasked with developing a 10-Year Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Digital Literacy Strategy for Ireland.
"There are many challenges and opportunities in addressing adult literacy, numeracy and digital literacy needs, such as adequate information services and supports, inclusiveness and accessibility but we are determined to help create an environment where everyone can get the skills necessary to participate fully in society."
The consultation is open until 31 December at https://www.solas.ie/alnd-strategy/.