A busy start to the year

A busy start to the year

There has certainly been an increased focus on Foundation Skills in recent months.

In January, 2021, the Productivity Commission released its report on the inquiry into Skills and Workforce Development finding:

‘There should be a coordinated national strategy to improve school education, ‘second-chance’ learning in the VET sector and other adult education services to reduce the large number of Australians with low language, literacy, numeracy and digital literacy skills.’

The report acknowledged that “the Reading Writing Hotline has reported a rising number of people who sought courses through the Hotline but where no suitable literacy/numeracy provision was available. Further, some groups who may want to study LLND skills (such as people considering entering the job market but not classified as job seekers) are tripped up by eligibility requirements. These problems point to a need for an expansion in LLND places and/or, possibly, a revision of eligibility criteria.”

In February 2021,  the House Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training announced a Parliamentary Inquiry into adult literacy and its importance.  The Hotline attended the third public hearing of the inquiry to provide evidence. The Committee invited written submissions and to date 88 submission have been received.  The Hotline’s submission can be read here. Submissions – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au). Three key messages delivered by the Hotline were:

  • the need for a national adult literacy and numeracy policy
  • an increase in the diversity of provision available
  • the need for increased specialist literacy teachers.

The Hotline has also been asked to participate in regular meetings of the Foundation Skills Advisory Committee established by the Commonwealth Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE). DESE has commissioned a scoping study to examine the provision of foundation skills across Australia with a view to developing a national framework.  We welcome the opportunity to lend a voice to those seeking to improve their literacy and numeracy and who are unable to find a class they need.