National Adult Literacy Awareness Week: 23 – 27 September

July 30, 2013

The theme this year is ‘Literacy for the 21st Century – preparing for PIAAC‘.

On 8 October, the Central Statistics Office will release the Irish results of a landmark new OECD survey called the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC). It tests the knowledge and skills of adults in 24 countries.

With this momentous survey on its way, the theme for National Adult Literacy Awareness Week in September is ‘Literacy for the 21st Century – preparing for PIAAC’. Our objective is to help policy makers and stakeholders to understand the survey in order to analyse and interpret the results appropriately. By doing this, our goal is to inform better policy, improve adult education, training and workplace skills.

For PIAAC in Ireland, the Central Statistics Office has interviewed 5,000 people aged 16-65 years old, assessing their literacy, numeracy and technology skills. The survey breaks new ground by collecting a broad range of information including how these skills are used at work and in other contexts such as the home and the community. No previous assessments have been this broad.


Date for the diary: Monday 23 September – CHANGE OF VENUE

Who: William Thorn, Senior Analyst OECD

What: Literacy for the 21st Century – what will PIAAC mean for Ireland?

Where: Winter Room, Royal College of Physicians, No 6 Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Here is a map.

PIAAC has the potential to help policy makers to assess the effectiveness of education and training systems, both for recent entrants to the labour market and for older people who may need to continue learning new skills throughout their lifetime. This seminar is for policy makers and stakeholders to help them identify more clearly how the results for Ireland could reflect on past policy decisions and impact on future policy direction.

At this event, Mr William Thorn, Senior Analyst in the Education Directorate of the OECD, will present on PIAAC, followed by speakers looking at the implications for Ireland and responses. Leading business journalist, broadcaster and commentator Richard Curran will chair the seminar. He has recently returned to the Irish Independent as business columnist, having been writer and deputy editor of The Sunday Business Post.



Date for the diary: Tuesday 24 September

Who: William Thorn, Senior Analyst, OECD

What: Literacy for the 21st Century: Problem solving in a technology-rich environment

Where: L & D Centre, Google, Gordon House, Dublin 4

A core component of PIAAC involves problem solving in technology-rich environments (PS-TRE) and this seminar aims to explain the importance and relevance of the survey to people working in the technology sector, ahead of the results being on October 8.

Problem solving in technology-rich environments (PS-TRE) is the ability to use technology to solve problems and accomplish complex tasks. It is not a measurement of computer or digital literacy, but rather the cognitive skills that are used and are necessary to function successfully at work or home in the 21st century. Unlike some traditional problem solving assessments, the emphasis of PIAAC is on information access, evaluation, retrieval and processing. Of particular interest in the PS-TRE component are the varying levels of difficulty of tasks that are demanding from both a technological and cognitive point of view. These tasks are used in PIAAC to provide further insight into how adults apply their cognitive skills using digital technology.

The seminar will take place at 10 am, for one hour, on Tuesday 24 September in the Google L & D Centre, Gordon House, Dublin.


Date for the diary: Thursday 26 September

Who:  Minister of State at the Department of Health with responsibility for Primary Care, Alex White

What:  Literacy for the 21st Century – what will PIAAC mean for the health sector?

Where:  Newman House, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin

The data from PIAAC has the potential to help policy makers reflect on the effectiveness of health services and inform health literacy policy and practice. This seminar is for members and people in the health sector to show the relationship between PIAAC, adult skills, health and well-being.

The seminar will take place at 9.30 am, on Thursday 26 September in Newman House, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.


Order your Awareness Week Posters now

Participating in the week is a great opportunity to make people aware of the learning services that you provide and raise awareness of literacy issues.  If you would like free promotional material, for example posters or leaflets please let us know by emailing with your details. You can download a posters and a copy of our press release at the bottom of this page.

In NALA we plan to create as much awareness as possible through the national media. An Post has also kindly agreed to sponsor the TV advertising campaign ‘Take the First Step’ during this time so we hope to be able to refer plenty of callers to local Adult Literacy Services.


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