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Dearing calls for basic-skills 'crusade'
Keywords Skills, Literacy, Adult education
The University for Industry chairman, Lord Ron Dearing, has called for a crusade to reduce the number of people in the UK without basic skills, calling current levels a national scandal. The UK is currently second to bottom in Europe in the literacy league. Some 23 per cent of UK adults have low literacy, compared with 7 per cent in Sweden and 12 per cent in Germany. Only Poland comes below the UK.
Lord Dearing, addressing delegates of the Better Basic Skill conference, explained:
Our first contribution must be towards reducing barriers. Some 1,000 University for Industry learning centres, in places people go, are part of the answer. There will be learning centres in football grounds, shopping centres and even in pubs, railway stations and in a fairground, as well as in the more conventional centres of learning.
The role of major employers was also vital. It could help to draw in those who have had a:
bruised experience of learning and may be deeply concerned not to expose their lack of basic skills lest it undermine their chances of holding their jobs.
Lord Dearing confirmed that basic-skills learning is one of the University for Industry's key target areas.