We need to support young people who have poor literacy skills

December 3, 2013

The Director of the National Adult Literacy Agency, Inez Bailey, has today welcomed the latest OECD PISA results for 15 year olds in Ireland but highlighted the need to support those who showed poor literacy skills.

The OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international project that assesses how well students, at age 15, are prepared to meet the challenges they may encounter in future life. It assesses students in the areas of reading, mathematics and science.

Ireland has seen most improvement in science where it is now ranked 9th out of 34 OECD countries; this is up five places since 2009.  Ireland is placed 4th out of 34 countries for reading and 13th of the 34 OECD countries for mathematics.

The results show that the average score in Ireland on reading is significantly above that achieved in 2009 but is not much different from the score achieved in 2000.

10% of Irish students performed below proficiency Level 2 which is considered insufficient for adult life.

“Although Irish students are performing well in general, we need to support young people who have poor literacy skills. According to the results of this OECD assessment approximately 10% of 15 year olds had below average literacy skills in 2012. These young people are only two years off adulthood and possibly any further education or training that would develop their literacy and maths skills. Therefore as they grow up their ability to fully contribute to economic, family and community life may be reduced if these skills are not improved. They are also less likely to engage in further education and are more likely to be unemployed,” said Inez Bailey, Director, NALA.

“The most disadvantaged young people need to be encouraged to improve their skills throughout life. Higher performing countries have established systems that combine high quality initial education with strong lifelong learning opportunities. The newly established SOLAS and Education and Training Boards provides a unique opportunity for us to work together to ensure this cohort of young people are not left behind,” said Inez Bailey.


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For media queries please contact:

Clare McNally, Communications, National Adult Literacy Agency: 01 4127909/  087 6486292

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