NESF child literacy report highlights the need for refreshed adult literacy strategy

11 Nov 2009


 The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) is calling for a refreshed adult literacy strategy following today’s report that revealed ongoing child literacy issues in disadvantaged areas. The report was published by the National Economic and Social Forum (NESF) and found that despite an increase in funding there has been little change in levels of child literacy problems amongst pupils from disadvantaged areas in the last 25 years.

The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) is calling for a refreshed adult literacy strategy following today’s report that revealed ongoing child literacy issues in disadvantaged areas. The report was published by the National Economic and Social Forum (NESF) and found that despite an increase in funding there has been little change in levels of child literacy problems amongst pupils from disadvantaged areas in the last 25 years.

NALA asks that the Government start to look at complimentary ways of raising educational achievement particularly in disadvantaged areas. NALA insists that this can be achieved most effectively by addressing other factors that impact on learning and school performance such as improving parent’s literacy and promoting approaches to learning in the home and in communities.

In particular, NALA is seeking greater emphasis on family learning programmes and community led partnerships with schools. Family, peers and communities play a major role in children’s education and should be increasingly involved in an equal partnership in educational developments, rather than relying solely on schools.

‘The role of parents in the development of their children’s literacy cannot be over emphasised. Yet not every parent finds it easy to help their child develop and learn. Family literacy work can help to overcome the barriers to learning felt by some adults and children who find it difficult to relate to school learning. It encourages parents and children to work together to simultaneously improve both their literacy skills,’ said Inez Bailey, Director, NALA.

Adult literacy is still a very significant issue for Irish Society. In Ireland, 500,000 adults have literacy difficulties along with up to 30% of primary school children from disadvantaged areas. NALA considers that the issue of children with low literacy levels will have consequences for the future socio-economic development of Ireland. As these people grow up their ability to fully contribute to economic, family and community life may be reduced if their literacy skills are not improved.

Further information contact:
Clare McNally, PRO, NALA - 01 8509109

National Adult Literacy Agency
The National Adult Literacy Agency (NALA) is an independent membership organisation, concerned with developing policy, advocacy, research and offering advisory services in adult literacy work in Ireland. NALA was established in 1980 and has campaigned since then for the recognition of, and response to, the adult literacy issue in Ireland. Its mission is to ensure all people with literacy and numeracy difficulties can fully take part in society and have access to learning opportunities that meet their needs.