Celebrating the benefits of lifelong learning and inspiring adults to improve
Adult learning and improving literacy are two things that are just as important today as they have ever been.
It is important therefore to ensure that in the UK we have a literate population.
There are many things that can be done to improve literacy, Adult Learners Week from June 14 to 19 aiming to help.
Improve your literacy
Adult Learners Week aims to raise awareness of the value of adult learning, celebrate the achievements of learners and providers, and inspire more people to discover how learning can positively change their lives.
If you are involved in providing adult learning and skills, Adult Learners Week is a great opportunity to promote what you do, launch a piece of research, test new provision or bang the drum for Adult Learning.
UK literacy rates
According to figures from the National Literacy Trust in the UK about 16.4 per cent of adults in England, or 7.1 million people, can be described as having very poor literacy skills.
They can understand short straightforward texts on familiar topics accurately and independently, and obtain information from everyday sources, but reading information from unfamiliar sources, or on unfamiliar topics, could cause problems.
This is also known as being functionally illiterate.
Don't be ashamed to admit your literacy skills
Many adults are reluctant to admit to their literacy difficulties and ask for help. One of the most important aspects of supporting adults with low literacy levels is to increase their self-esteem and persuade them of the benefits of improving their reading and writing.
Having poor literacy skills can bar people from the job market and render them unable to help their children with simple literacy tasks.
Today Adult Learners’ Week is the UK’s largest festival of learning.
The overall purpose of the initiative is to raise demand for learning and skills.
It highlights the benefits of learning of all kinds, learning for work, informal learning as well as learning for personal development.
Adult Learners' Week
Adult Learners’ Week is an international festival of adult learning.
It is a UNESCO initiative that was first celebrated in the United States in the late 1980s, where there was a move to create a broad celebration of adult learning by the American Association for the Advancement of Education.
Education for All World conference
In 1990 governments met in Jomtien for the Education for All World conference.
The aim of this conference was to set goals for universal access to and completion of primary education and to reduce the adult illiteracy rate to one half its 1990 level by 2000.
Today Adult Learners’ Week is celebrated in many countries across the globe.
It is a grass roots campaign led by the community education sector.
Where to go to improve literacy skills
There are many places that help with adult literacy skills:
Visit the Gov.uk site for improving English skills, or call the National Careers Service helpline on 0800 100 900.
If an adult is employed and has access to a union, their union learning representative will be able to provide confidential advice.
You could also contact a local adult education college directly, for information on courses, or your local library, which can also provide support such as appropriate reading materials and reading groups.
Adults can also get literacy support in their role as parents, through family learning activity provided by colleges, libraries, schools and other organisations.