Research and policy

We are experts in adult literacy and numeracy research and policy in Ireland.

Literacy and numeracy in Ireland

One in six Irish adults has unmet literacy needs. Even more struggle doing basic math. People with unmet literacy needs are more likely to be unemployed, to report poor health and to believe that they have little impact on political processes. This has devastating consequences for people, families, communities and the economy.


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Adult literacy learner sit on a desk while a tutor explains how to use a PC tool
Financial Literacy launch

Our research

People often ask why we still have unmet literacy needs in Ireland? Why hasn’t it improved? Research is at the heart of answering these questions and providing real solutions.

For 40 years NALA has been at the forefront of using research to provide evidence-based solutions to the adult literacy issue and to inform our policy proposals and advice to organisations.


View all research reports here


Unmet literacy needs create an obstacle to a fair, equal society and undermines our economic competitiveness. We work in partnership with government departments, organisations, tutors and learners to advance adult literacy policy.  This work is supported by evidence-based research which examines international best practice, reviews Irish policy and produces recommendations to meet the needs of people with literacy difficulties.


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Our policy priorities

NALA’s current policy
priorities include

Student Advocacy

Adult literacy students guide and inform our work. Adult literacy learning is most successful when students are actively involved in the process. We ensure the views and experiences of adults with unmet literacy, numeracy and digital literacy needs are heard by policy makers. We do this through having a Student Subcommittee, gathering student views at events and ensuring student advocacy is a key element in our strategic plans. We also offer a Student Fund that is available for student groups to fund learning activities outside the classroom.


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Latest research reports

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