Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Many students drop out of school

In the last 2 days there have been articles in The Age (editorial today) and discussion about the numbers of students who do not complete their year 12 or equivalent schooling.

The reasons are many and multi-layered.

It is all contained in the " Educational Opportunity in Australia 2015 report, which was released on Monday, which has found a staggering 26 per cent of Australian 19-year-olds, or 81,199 people, are not finishing school." The Age, Monday 27 October 2015

I don't propose to argue for or against any of these issues.  What I am most concerned about is the 1 in 4 or 26% of students who do not complete schooling, or meet academic benchmarks.

Eventhough the report does acknowledge that many students can and do catch up; until they do, these students still need to be able to participate in society, get a job, access CentreLink and other government and community services.

Consequently all services, government, and non government services need to think about how information is presented to people in this category. You can read from the report "Many of these people go on to suffer financial hardship, alcohol and substance abuse, homelessness and a higher probability of ending up in the justice system." 

The OECD completed an international study in 2013 (PIAAC) which the ABS participated in (ABS #4228). The ABS PIAAC data (2013) #4228 correlates with this Education Opportunity in Australia 2015 report. Both acknowledge people who have limited literacy skills are more like to end up with financial hardship, poorer health outcomes, higher probability to end up in the justice system, and be less connected with their community, and be socially isolated.

Make a list of the service you access, on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis. If you had non functional literacy would you be able to readily access these services?
Start a list, and begin to advocate for the 44% of adult Australians who have non functional literacy. Think about the written information your department or service provides; does it meet the needs of your potential and current clientele?

Here's a starting point
- Rental lease
- Medication dosage
- Medication side effects
- Food labels
- Bills
- CentreLink request
- Local community opening hours and activities
- Accessing MyGov website 
- Product Labels
- Text messages
- Community centre brochure

Call me to talk about how you can modify your written information so the 44% of adult Australians can access written information in a more meaningful way.

Cathy Basterfield
Access Easy English
0466 579 855

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