Thursday, 24 July 2008

Aussies lack literacy skills: ABS

Almost half of all Australians aged 15 to 74 had literacy skills below the minimum level required to "meet the complex demands of a knowledge society", new statistics show.

The latest Australian Social Trends report shows that to 2006, on a scale of one (lowest) to five (highest) in literacy competence, 47 per cent of people had document literacy levels below level three, while 46 per cent had prose literacy skills below that level.

More than half had numeracy skills below level three (53 per cent).

Three quarters of people surveyed scored below the level three average in at least one category - prose literacy, document literacy, numeracy and problem solving.

Just over a third (36 per cent) were below average in all four categories.

People who did not complete schooling to year 12 or spoke English as a second language made up 83 per cent of those with poor prose literacy skills.

Just over half of Australians aged 14 to 74 had not completed school to year 12.

This group was more than twice as likely to have poor prose literacy skills than those who completed year 12 (63 per cent, compared with 29 per cent).

In 2006, 70 per cent of people aged between 25 and 34 had completed secondary studies, compared to only 18 per cent for 65 to 74 year olds.

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