Literacy campaign launched to help adults with reading and maths

One in six Irish adults find it difficult to read leaflets, timetables and medicine instructions

Galina Moraru, a student at Kildare and Wicklow ETB, and author Emilie Pine at the launch of the National Adult Literacy Agency’s Take the First Step campaign. Photograph: Conor Healy/Picture It Photography

Galina Moraru, a student at Kildare and Wicklow ETB, and author Emilie Pine at the launch of the National Adult Literacy Agency’s Take the First Step campaign. Photograph: Conor Healy/Picture It Photography

 

A campaign aimed at Irish adults who have difficulty with reading or maths will be launched by the National Adult Literacy Agency (Nala) at the weekend to mark Unesco International Literacy Day.

One in six, or 550,000 Irish adults, find reading and understanding everyday texts difficult. They may struggle to read a leaflet, bus timetable or medicine instructions, and this affects how they communicate or fail to communicate with the people they need to reach.

Speaking about the campaign, Emilie Pine, author and associate professor of modern drama at University College Dublin, said she was passionate about adult literacy.

“I think it is a fundamental right and everyone should have the right to read and write. It is essential for life,” she said.

“And I think it’s really brave of adults to go back and take the first step into their local adult education centre.”

Nala has linked up with the Education and Training Boards Ireland and Solas, the Further Education and Training Authority, to help adult learners improve their skills in reading, writing, maths and technology.

Fundamental

Andrew Brownlee, chief executive of Solas, said literacy, numeracy and digital skills are fundamental to employability.

“The campaign is designed to raise awareness about Ireland’s skills needs and to ensure that our population are equipped to progress at pace with our changing environment,” he said.

The campaign encourages adults who have literacy or numeracy difficulties to contact a Freephone support line, 1800-202065, to free text LEARN to 50050 or to contact their local Education and Training Board to avail of the service.

Once they make contact, Nala will put them in touch with their local Education Training Board (ETB) adult education centre or tell them about other free services to meet their needs.

Currently in Ireland there are about 63,000 adults attending literacy courses in ETB adult education centres nationwide.