Time for National Renewal: Australian adult literacy and numeracy as ‘foundation skills’

Stephen Black, Keiko Yasukawa


Abstract

Those working in the field of adult literacy and numeracy are currently anticipating changes in the near future as the federal government has flagged the development of a National Foundation Skills Strategy (Australian Government 2010). ‘Foundation skills’ is a term that has recently been suggested as a way of simplifying discussions about literacy and numeracy (Perkins 2009:8), and it has gained traction in various Australian national policy environments (e.g. Gillard 2009, Council of Australian Governments [COAG] Reform Council 2009, Australian Government 2010). Foundation skills appears to encapsulate adult language, literacy and numeracy, and more broadly, it may also include so-called employability skills such as communication and teamwork (Roberts and Wignall 2010:1). In this paper, our main focus is on the adult literacy and numeracy dimensions of what is needed in the policy renewal.

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