We must strive for the total eradication of illiteracy in Irish society

05 December 2017

Labour Party spokesperson on Education, Senator Aodhán Ó Riordáin, has welcomed the publication of the Progress in International Reading Study, which shows Irish ten year olds are among the best in the world when it comes to literacy.

Senator Ó Ríordáin said:

“Today’s figures confirm positive results for parents and their children, who want a good foundation in maths and literacy, which sets them up to do well in school. This is what the Labour Party in Government promised- and this is what we delivered.

“In 2011, Ruairi Quinn published our national strategy for literacy and numeracy in schools ‘Literacy and Numeracy for Learning and Life’.

“That strategy increased the amount of time spent on literacy and numeracy in primary schools, saw an overhauling of initial teacher education, increased the training provided to teachers on these matters, and set targets for improvements to student outcomes in these areas.

“It led, at least in part, to the first improvements in reading and maths in a generation, as revealed in the National Assessments of English Reading and Mathematics (NAERM), published in January 2015, which found the first significant improvements to reading and maths scores since 1980.

“The results published today show that the combination of those initiatives have had an impact. Enormous credit is due to teachers, parents and students who have embraced these changes.

“In 2006, I began a ‘Right to Read’ campaign as my experiences as a teacher in the North Inner City convinced me that the challenge of defeating childhood illiteracy lay outside the walls of the classroom. The recognition of Ireland’s literacy problem is important, and our ambition to defeat it must be heightened. We must strive for the total eradication of illiteracy in Irish society and to demand all state agencies to play their part, with local authorities taking a local lead.

“Right to Read has been Government policy since 2014, but it seems to have disappeared under the current Government.

“We need to continue to place improving literacy and numeracy at the heart of educational reform. This is a central issue of equality which needs a commitment from all of the government departments and agencies that interact with our citizens, to ensure that the eradication of illiteracy becomes a national crusade.”

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