OECD warns 250 000 Australian graduates have low literacy/numeracy skills

Some 20 per cent of the three million Australian adults with low literacy/numeracy skills have above upper-secondary school education, according to a new report from the OECD. And nine per cent of them have a bachelor degree or better. The figure for the VET qualified is 16 per cent.

Numeracy is a bigger problem than literacy, particularly among women, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development reports.

The three million total puts Australia on par with New Zealand, better than the US and UK but worse than the Nordic nationsJapan and the Netherlands.

“Although Australia’s average results are not poor, the challenges presented by adults with low basic skills may lead to Australia being left behind in terms of innovation and economic growth by nations that have been more successfully investing in the skills of all their people, the OECD warns.

The OECD urges government to:

  • increase women’s participation in STEM
  • strengthen maths in secondary education
  • target support for VET students at risk of low skill levels


to get daily updates on what's happening in the world of Australian Higher Education