Updated: Feb 12
Canadians spend an average of 12 years going through the modern education system. After 12 years spent - one would hope to graduate with a thorough understanding of reading, writing and arithmetic… the underlying premise of literacy.
In truth, this is only part of how literacy is defined.
Did you know that a large percentage of Canadians have difficulty coping with the literacy and numeracy demands of modern work?
This tidbit of information may come as a surprise. Let's revisit our definition of literacy.
Taken one step further, to be considerate literate not only means to demonstrate the ability to read, write, and perform mathematical operations, but also translates as being able to apply this learning to function in society and the economy (Statistics Canada, 2005).
It would seem as though we have the aptitude with the former, but struggle with the latter.
So after spending my youth going to school, you’re telling me I’m not equipped to function in society and support my country’s economy?
Well. The hard truth is that most countries are doing quite poorly in global literacy assessments - that’s the good news (kind of). For more on this click here.
If I put the spotlight on Canada, and run a comparison against several other countries, such as Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Bermuda, the U.S, etc… Canada is a low performer.
Canadians get a C.
48% of Canadians lack the literacy skills necessary to be fully competent in most jobs available in our economy (The Conference Board of Canada, 2012). This number should be alarming, especially given that byway of certificates, diplomas and degrees, Canada is one of the most educated nations in the world.
So, if not to be literate, what exactly are my children learning in school?