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Numeracy/Literacy

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 12 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what percentage of British adults had the lowest (a) numeracy and (b) literacy levels as defined by the OECD in each year since 1997. [118634]

The most recent information available on adult numeracy and literacy levels is from the International Adult Literacy Study (IALS), which was carried out in 1996.The study indicated that:

(a) 23 per cent. of adults aged 16–65 in Great Britain had poor numeracy skills
(b) 22 per cent. of adults aged 16–65 in Great Britain had poor literacy skills

The IALS data from 1996 is published annually in the OECD publication "Education at a Glance". There are no data available for 1997 or for subsequent years.

The Department has commissioned a new representative sample survey of working age adults in England to provide an up-to-date assessment of the scale of literacy and numeracy need. These estimates will be mapped to the new national basic skills standards and will be published in autumn 2003.

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if he will place in the Library a copy of the Go-Karts video of the Early Literacy Support programme. [117184]