International context

In 2013, the First International Skills Survey OECD's Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) demonstrated, unequivocally, the impact of poor literacy and numeracy skills on people's incomes, job and life chances, health and prosperity. It also demonstrated the impact of poor literacy and numeracy skills on a nation's economic competitiveness, well-being and skills in a global market place.

The survey of 22 nations placed 19-24 year olds in England in the bottom four countries for both literacy and numeracy. Furthermore, the report found that England was the only country where the generation approaching retirement is more literate and numerate than the youngest adults.

The Survey suggested skills needed to be developed over a lifetime to maximise economic and social outcomes, implicating a broad range of policy fields: 'education, science and technology,employment, economic development, migration and public finance'.

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