ICT skills are low among adults

The capacity to manage information and solve problems using computers is becoming a necessity as ICT applications permeate the workplace, the classroom and lecture hall, the home, and social interaction more generally.

OECD (2016), Skills Matter: Further Results from the Survey of Adult Skills, OECD Skills Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris. http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264258051-en

A Survey of Adult Skills by the OECD Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), was undertaken to measure adults’ proficiency in several key information-processing skills, namely literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments.

This report presents findings for 33 countries and economies that participated in the study over the two rounds.

According to the report, proficiency in literacy and numeracy peaks at around age 30, while proficiency in problem solving in technology-rich environments peaks at around age 25. On average, older adults (55‑65 year-olds) score around 30 score points lower in literacy than 25-34 year-olds.

The survey’s national samples ranged from a minimum of approximately 4 000 persons to a maximum of nearly 27 300 persons.

In almost all countries, reading skills of adults was found to be at 18.9% on average and poor numeracy skills at 22.7% on average. However, the share of adult proficient at or below Level 1 in literacy ranges from 69.3% in Jakarta (Indonesia) to 4.9% in Japan and, in numeracy, from 61.9% in Chile to 8.1% in Japan.

The reports adds that:

Low proficiency in literacy and numeracy can be a significant barrier to using ICT applications to manage information. First, poor literacy may hinder the acquisition of basic ICT skills. Second, even if adults have some computer skills, those with poor literacy and numeracy skills will find it difficult to handle many of the information-management and information-processing tasks encountered in online environments. This implies that, in some countries, adults with poor proficiency in literacy and numeracy may be slow to adopt and use information technologies, which could undermine their labour market outcomes.

The results may suggest that more work has to be put towards equipping young learners with adequate ICT skills. With this, they would be more prepared to easily participate in fast growing companies that are centred around the use of ICT.

Introducing ICT related programmes in schools and for home participation would be exposing learners to endless learning opportunities.

These skills can range from basic computer skills to advanced coding and they can play a major getting and keeping a job.

About Mduduzi Mbiza 111 Articles
Mduduzi Mbiza is a creator. Author of the book, ‘Human Education: The Voyage of Discovery’.