The C.D. Howe Institute released a report entitled “Talkin’ ‘Bout my Generation: More Educated but Less Skilled Canadians” by Parisa Mahboubi.
The author looks at differences in literacy skills comparing 2003 (IALSS) and 2012 (PIAAC). Canada and Norway were the only two countries to have a fall in literacy skills.
Two explanations for this decline in Canada scores are presented. The first is a decline due to aging and the increasing number of older people. The second is a generational difference – Canadian-born respondents from 2012 had, on average, lower literacy and numeracy scores than those in 2003. In all cases, declines in skills were greater for those without a university education.
The paper points to the importance of obtaining the highest possible level of literacy skills early on in life since skills decline due to aging, the lack of ongoing learning, or not using the skills at home or at work.
The author writes: “Education, on-the-job-training and skills use at work and in everyday life play important roles in increasing or maintaining skills levels or slowing down the rate of skills decline.”
Myself along with many others have been promoting this message since 1989. We’re still talking about it today. Workplace literacy programs are excellent vehicles to regain and enhance skills while, at the same time, employers need to fashion jobs so that literacy and numeracy skills are used every day.
To access the summary and the full report, go to “Talkn’ ‘Bout My Generation: More Educated but Less Skilled Canadians”