New research unveiled by Lifelong Learning Minister Malcolm Wicks yesterday aims to highlight the problems faced by those with poor basic skills, and the benefits improved basic skills would mean to the economy.
One study, Basic Skills and Soft Skills: Secondary Analysis of the National Child Development Study from the Centre for the Economics of Education found that literacy and numeracy skills had a much larger impact on earnings and employability than 'soft skills' such as the ability to get on with others.
Another study, Improving Adult Basic Skills: Benefits to the Individual and Society, published by the Centre for Research on the Wider Benefits of Learning states that achieving the targets for improved adult basic skills recommended by Sir Claus Moser's committee recommended would be likely to increase aggregate employment by around 100,000 for numeracy and 45,000 for literacy, although the authors state that both are as important as eachother.
Speaking at a Basic Skills conference in Ashridge, Hertfordshire Wicks spoke of the importance of learning from international good practice to tackle numeracy and literacy problems in adults: "The need for basic literacy and numeracy skills has never been more important in an international, knowledge-based economy. People need these skills to participate fully in society, not just for work but also for everyday family activities such as shopping, catching a bus or a train and keeping their household finances in order. "This international conference has provided an opportunity to share the experiences we and other countries have had in tackling adult literacy and numeracy problems. The examples and ideas that they present will be of real value to our ‘Skills for Life’ consultation on the best way of driving this forward. It is vital that we learn from successes elsewhere in the world and press forward quickly with implementing changes that will help people to overcome their difficulties."
Copies of the research reports are available from Steve Leman, DfEE, Moorfoot, Sheffield S1 4PQ, email [email protected].