46% of Australians are illiterate or innumerate...

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Dan74
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46% of Australians are illiterate or innumerate...

Postby Dan74 » Sun May 09, 2010 1:31 pm

from today' The Age:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/you-wouldnt-read-about-it-20100508-ul30.html

One of the things that struck me is how isolated many of our lives are. Here we are, connected through the web with fellow Buddhists from all parts of the world and yet to find something like this about our backyard was shocking to me (not sure about the other Australians here).

I spend my days teaching Uni kids and solving obscure problems hardly anyone is going to care about. Both seem like fringe occupations when one considers how many people are effectively shut off from the kind of participation in this society many of us take for granted.

Thoughts?
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Ben
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Re: 46% of Australians are illiterate or innumerate...

Postby Ben » Sun May 09, 2010 1:45 pm

I reckon it sounds a bit high Dan. How many people do you know who are innumerate and/or illiterate?
I can tell you how many people I know that are innumerate and/or illiterate: zero.
I can also assure you that there are a greater proportion of the population down here who are "educationally challenged" than in Victoria, let alone most of the mainland states.
Certainly, those sorts of deficits in education (and opportunity) are very serious regardless of how many people it affects and should be addressed.
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saṇantā yanti kusobbhā,
tuṇhīyanti mahodadhī.

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Re: 46% of Australians are illiterate or innumerate...

Postby Annapurna » Sun May 09, 2010 1:54 pm

Can only speak for my land:

There is an increasing amount of folks who are making grammar mistakes you just didn't hear a while ago. They can't use Genitive and Dative right, as an example.

You even hear young journalists on TV speaking in this funny way, and see it written in newspapers, as if there was nobody able to correct this!
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Re: 46% of Australians are illiterate or innumerate...

Postby Dan74 » Sun May 09, 2010 1:59 pm

I think 46% is inflated too, Ben, but I am guessing that it is higher than we think.

As to the number of illiterate people I know - until I did work in prison - 0. But this may be more indicative of the demographics of where I live and my workplace. Sure going to the Metropolitan Remand Centre through Sunshine you see all sorts of things you don't see in the Eastern suburbs, like young couples who were obviously drug users with kids, toddlers with Phoetal Alcohol Syndrome... As for the prison itself, 46% would not surprise me. More like 76% perhaps.

But to me the point is not the number (although it's important), but the implication that there is a huge proportion of Australians who are effectively disenfranchised!
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Re: 46% of Australians are illiterate or innumerate...

Postby jcsuperstar » Sun May 09, 2010 5:31 pm

in my state it's 1/3 of all 10th grade high school students (15-16 y/o) who are illiterate. what I'd like to know is how does one get that far in school without the ability to read?
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Re: 46% of Australians are illiterate or innumerate...

Postby mikenz66 » Sun May 09, 2010 9:25 pm

Hi Anna,
Annapurna wrote:They can't use Genitive and Dative right, as an example.

I thought this made me illiterate, since I went to school some time ago, but I don't recall ever learning those terms...

However, according to Wikipedia, genitive is what I would call possessive, which I do know about, and there hasn't been a dative case in English since the middle ages.

So I'm not as illiterate as I thought... At least in English... :reading:

Mike

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Re: 46% of Australians are illiterate or innumerate...

Postby cooran » Sun May 09, 2010 9:33 pm

Dan74 wrote:from today' The Age:

http://www.theage.com.au/national/you-wouldnt-read-about-it-20100508-ul30.html

One of the things that struck me is how isolated many of our lives are. Here we are, connected through the web with fellow Buddhists from all parts of the world and yet to find something like this about our backyard was shocking to me (not sure about the other Australians here).

I spend my days teaching Uni kids and solving obscure problems hardly anyone is going to care about. Both seem like fringe occupations when one considers how many people are effectively shut off from the kind of participation in this society many of us take for granted.

Thoughts?

Hello Dan, all,

Most illiterate people are deeply ashamed of their inadequacy, and learn to hide it.

I know a 30 year old man who "finished" grade 10, who has been married twice and has three children. He is unable to obtain a learners driver licence because he cannot read or write answers to the questions. His nine year old daughter from his first marriage laughs at her dad who cannot text because he cannot spell. He does unskilled jobs and is at the mercy of any cheating boss. Because of his shame, he skillfully hides his inability to read and write ... which, of course, includes not going to a course with others "dropkicks".

There are tens of thousands like this man in Australia - where education is free and available to all.
46% with literacy problems sounds about right to me ~ this doesn't mean they are all completely illiterate ~ but very many are.

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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Re: 46% of Australians are illiterate or innumerate...

Postby Kim OHara » Sun May 09, 2010 9:56 pm

The figure is so high because the article includes a lot of skills and knowledge under 'literacy and numeracy' that don't really belong there. It's as though they say I'm at risk of malnutrition because I have no access to truffles, or unhealthy because I can't run a 10-sec hundred metres.
If they didn't define illiteracy and innumeracy that way, they wouldn't have an attention-grabbing story and wouldn't sell more papers. Sigh. If the definition of 'illiterate' was 'can't read the back page of the paper' (that's where the sports news is, in this country), the rate would be more like 5 - 10%.
That said, we are seeing the results of a lot of kids falling through the cracks in the school system - and that is where the problem needs to be fixed. It isn't where the problem starts, though, in many cases. Four- and five-year-olds turn up at school with their futures already compromised by their parents' lack of care. Often the parents aren't coping very well, economically and/or socially, and the kids' failure is inherited. Breaking the cycle needs early, intensive intervention. That costs money for school staff but governments seem not to realise that every $10 spent there will save them $50 in crime prevention and health costs later.

:namaste:
Kim


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