Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Why society benefits from an end to illiteracy

I really like this latest aspiration from Plaid Cymru - to make sure no child leaves primary school unable to read or write.

It will take additional investment but in the long run it will more than pay for itself as those children are able to contribute to secondary school more fully. Not only that, but studies have shown that half the juvenile prison population is functionally illiterate - the cost to society of illiteracy is huge.

The same article estimates that it costs £40,000 a year to keep a prisoner in jail. Investing in those early years and ensuring that children are able to participate fully in school would be a real step forward.

Plaid Cymru’s education spokesperson speaking in a Welsh government debate on literacy in Wales has said that poor standards of literacy and numeracy in Wales have to be tackled head on. Referring to Plaid Cymru’s recently announced proposals for tackling illiteracy, Ms Evans said that no child should aim to leave primary school unable to read or write. On Monday, Plaid Cymru launched its policy proposals for eradicating illiteracy for children leaving primary school by 2020. Nerys Evans said that recent reports have shown that the current education system is failing children and is in need of a radical action and leadership.
The Plaid Cymru Education spokesperson was also highly critical of Tory plans for education in Wales and their proposals to slash funding for schools in Wales. She said that their plans to cut the education budget by up to a fifth would make an already worrying situation far worse.
Plaid Cymru Education spokesperson, Nerys Evans AM said:

“Plaid Cymru wants to create an environment where every child has the opportunity to achieve their full potential and that means a radical overhaul of the education system. Our children are being let down as things stand and that is simply not acceptable. In light of the dismaying recent reports and results it is clear that we need radical action and leadership on this matter.

“Instead of asking why a child is failing, we need to ask why the teaching method is failing the child. Where this is happening we need to look at alternative teaching methods and that is why Plaid is proposing the introduction of techniques such as synthetic phonics.

“Standards of literacy impact on society and the economy as a whole and education must be prioritised as an issue. It is vital that education is properly funded by government and that’s why the Tories innumerate proposals to slash education funding are so shocking. Under their plans each school would see their budget cut by at least £40,000, this would have devastating consequences for pupils.

“It is also just as important that the teaching methods employed are fit for purpose. That is why Plaid is calling for a root and branch review to be carried out on our education system. We want to have the structures and systems in place to ensure that the education that our children are getting is the best that it can possibly be.”

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