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OECD slams UK literacy rates

Teenagers growing up in the United Kingdom are some of the most poorly educated in the developed world, a worrying report has suggested. Young people between the ages of 16 and 19 have only the most basic ability in English and Maths, it has been revealed. In addition, the report found low numeracy and literacy skills in 9 million people of working age.

OECD slams UK literacy rates

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The Operation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) conducted the report, in which English teens came in at the bottom for literacy and second to last for numeracy out of 23 nations.

Graduates Lacking Important Skills

According to the report, a staggering 20 percent of university students in England manage the most basic tasks but struggle with more advanced ones, such as reading the instructions on a bottle of medication. It seems teachers at universities pay very little attention to the numeracy and literacy skills of their students. As a result, graduates leave education with a qualification but not the ability to use it in the real world.

The report, which was based on data collected in 2012, highlighted the benefit of the reforms suggested by Michael Gove, whereby children must remain in education until they are 18 years of age. It also acknowledged the value of other steps taken as part of the reforms, including the introduction of more difficult GCSEs and the abolishment of some vocational courses, like the certificate for nail technicians.

Ineffective Educational Policies

Critics have hit out, placing blame for high levels of illiteracy with the government for its failing educational policies. Director of the Centre for Education and Employment, Alan Smithers, believes the decline has occurred as a result of “progressive education”. He points out the formal way previous generations learned English and maths and how successful the system proved.

Being able to read is far more complex than many realise. A number of private organisations are developing new programmes in an effort to help children to read. Websites such as www.mywordbuddy.com are now popular tools for parents hoping to boost their children’s reading and literacy skills.

A government spokesperson has praised the reforms, which should enable thousands more students to leave education with the necessary skills in maths and English to equip them for long-term success.

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