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Call to boost adult numeracy skills


Adults need to radically improve thier numercay skills, a report claims

Adults need to radically improve thier numercay skills, a report claims

Adults need to radically improve thier numercay skills, a report claims

A new study has called for a radical overhaul of adult numeracy amid concerns that poor maths skills are costing the economy billions each year.

Poor numeracy skills have a "devastating" effect on many people's lives, yet there is still a widespread attitude that being bad at maths is a "badge of honour", according to the National Institute of Adults Continuing Education (NIACE).

Publishing the NIACE-led independent, inquiry into numeracy, the institute is calling for a "cultural shift in attitudes" to boost the numeracy skills of adults.

People who reach adulthood with poor numeracy skills are more than twice as likely to be unemployed, far less likely to receive work-related training, get a promotion or receive a raise, the report said.

Adults with poor numeracy skills are also more than twice as likely to be a teenage parent, have long-standing illnesses or disabilities and more likely to suffer from depression.

And the poor numeracy skills of adults is estimated to cost the economy £2.4 billion each year.

"Poor numeracy skills have a devastating effect on many people's lives," the report says. "We are faced with a large number of the adult population with poor numeracy skills not sufficient for the 21st century; with young people leaving school with inadequate skills for sustainable employment; with families unable to pass on skills to ensure their children have a better life chances than they do."

The report puts forward a series of recommendations and urges the Government to adopt a new approach to numeracy that focuses on how adults use maths and numbers in their every day lives and for a new way of measuring how well adults use numeracy, such as how they manage bills, make decisions about credit and estimate time.

Carol Taylor, NIACE director of operations, said: "We have a huge numeracy problem in this country. We see having poor numeracy skills - being bad at maths - as a badge of honour.

"No one would dream of boasting that they couldn't read, but many people stand on platforms, write in blogs, appear on radio and television TV, admit to friends and colleagues, proudly showcasing our inability to handle everyday maths."

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