Minister Harris invites adults to unlock their literacy potential on International Literacy Day

September 8, 2023

Literacy changes lives

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD is today inviting adults to improve their literacy, numeracy and digital skills on International Literacy Day.

Read the full press release

The Adult Literacy for Life (ALL) strategy, launched by Minister Harris on International Literacy Day 2021, has the ambition of an Ireland where every adult has the necessary literacy, numeracy and digital literacy to fully engage in society and realise their potential.

Speaking at the City of Dublin Adult Education Centre in Ballymun today, Minister Harris says:

“I am heartened to be here on International Literacy Day listening to learners tell their story of how improving their literacy positively impacted their lives.

“Today’s event is just one of 30 different events and activities, up and down the country, being held to promote adult literacy this month. These events have been organised by our Regional Literacy Coordinators and the Education and Training Boards, to help start a conversation around adult literacy.

“I have huge ambitions with regard to Adult Literacy and the strategy I am driving has ambitions aims. I want to:

  • reduce the number of adults in Ireland with unmet literacy needs from 18% to 7%,
  • reduce those with unmet numeracy needs from 25% to 12% and
  • those without basic digital literacy skills from 47% to 20%.

“The Adult Literacy for Life Strategy is a whole of Government and whole of society approach to literacy. There is a vast amount of really fantastic work going on nationwide in providing literacy services and we want to ensure that everybody knows about it and knows how to access it.

“I would encourage you to contact your local education and training board, and indeed call our freephone number 1800 20 20 65 for more information.”

The ALL Strategy maps out a plan to make literacy supports as visible, accessible and inclusive as possible for everyone who may wish to avail of them. These literacy supports allow people to build and improve their reading, writing, numerical and digital literacy skills, opening up a world of opportunities to them.

Minister Harris also helped to launch An Post’s Unlocking Life initiative yesterday, which will help to bring greater awareness of literacy supports available to people around the country, making it possible for more of our citizens to access greater opportunities in life. An Post’s collaborative and partnership-centred approach to getting the message out about literacy is exactly the vision of the ALL Strategy. Through Unlocking Life, An Post will partner with NALA, the Regional Literacy Coordinators and Education and Training Boards Ireland in supporting awareness building through selected Post Offices on 7th and 8th September 2023.

The ALL Strategy is a ten year strategy, which was developed by SOLAS, that puts in place the long term structures needed to empower those who may previously have felt they were simply unable to learn. These structures include an ALL Programme Office, 16 Regional Literacy Coordinators across the country and ALL Strategy Collaboration and Innovation Fund. This year €1million was allocated to 51 literacy projects under this Fund by Minister Harris.

Director of the ALL Programme Office, SOLAS, Yvonne McKenna says:

“Many people struggle with literacy issues at different times in their lives, which can exclude them from carrying out a range of everyday activities, or successfully interacting with public services.

“Literacy is a valued right and tasks such as filling in a form, reading health information or accessing everyday services online should be attainable for every member of society. As today’s fabulous event shows, getting help with literacy can positively transform a person’s life.

“I would encourage anyone who does struggle with their literacy to take that important first step by picking up the phone or calling into their local Education and Training Board”.

If you would like to avail of literacy supports, please contact your local Education and Training Board. Contact details can be found at Adult Literacy Supports.

For more information on ALL, please go to Adult Literacy for Life.



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