On International Literacy Day next Tuesday 8 Sept, NALA will host a webinar to explore the importance of literacy, numeracy and digital skills in the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. During the webinar it will also be discussed the upcoming Government 10-year adult literacy, numeracy and digital skills strategy that will be developed in the coming months.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people struggled with understanding and accessing information, including key messages about public health information and employment supports. For those with unmet literacy, numeracy and digital skills needs, it was especially challenging. Latest statistics show that COVID-19 has impacted most on workers who have experience of educational and wider inequalities resulting in a lack of educational qualifications. Further highlighting literacy inequalities many parents who themselves experienced unmet literacy needs and without access to technology resources or digital skills, struggled with supporting their children’s learning during lockdown. These inequalities were further compounded by the closing of regular supports such as local ETB literacy services and the library network, leaving many adults isolated during this time and indeed even today many continue to experience this isolation.
This pandemic has shed a light on the pivotal importance of strong literacy, numeracy and digital skills. We are living in an information age that requires understanding of how to access and understand health messages and government information about changing behaviours to keep us safe. We are accessing more services over the phone and online and using critical thinking skills to combat misinformation and lies. It is not good enough that 18% of Irish adults struggle with these skills and we can do better. By investing in adult literacy, we can build a more equal, resilient and happier society.
Join NALA on Tuesday 8 September at 12.30 where Catherine Devlin (literacy student), Pauline Hensey (Distance Learning Tutor) and Helen Ryan (Policy Officer) will discuss these areas.