Friday 22 April 2005
The Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning, Jane Davidson has today announced that £40 million will be made available over the next three years to support activities outlined in Words Talk - Numbers Count the second phase of the all-age National Basic Skills strategy for Wales.
Speaking at the launch of the Strategy the Minister said that it was essential to raise literary and numeracy standards for people of all ages in Wales.
To achieve this goal the Basic Skills Agency has been awarded the contract to oversee the implementation of the Strategy for the next three years. With continued co-operation from the Assembly and partners such as ELWa, LEAs, Careers Wales, Estyn and ACCAC we aim to raise skills levels for all in Wales.
The Assembly Government is committed to giving equal recognition to both the main languages of Wales and this is reflected in the Strategy. All programmes, resources and materials for the development of basic skills will be available in both Welsh and English. There will also be more support available for speakers of other languages.
The Minister said: "We are determined to tackle the problem of poor basic skills head-on.
"If we are to motivate children, young people and adults to improve their basic skills and achieve better outcomes, we need to provide diverse, innovative, high quality learning opportunities throughout Wales. Our Strategy will make this happen.
"The impact of the Strategy is widespread. At its core it is about the individual’s ability to read, write and work with numbers, but it is so much more than that. When we think about social justice, the economy, widening participation in learning, the effects on health and well-being and the development of safe and strong communities, then we realise just how fundamental this strategy is to virtually everything else we do.
"We will focus on those in greatest need – those whose skills are below Level 1. And over the next five years we will work to ensure that effective programmes and strategic planning for improving basic skills are part of the landscape for all relevant organisations. We will ensure that the work of the Strategy is sustainable in the longer term.
"We have set ourselves some challenging targets for the next few years; 80% of adults to have at least Level 1 literacy skills and 55% to have Level 1 numeracy skills by 2010. All schools to maintain Quality Mark standards and all post-16 providers to hold the Quality Mark by 2006. By 2010, 50% of employees to be working for employers that have signed the Employer Pledge a scheme whereby employers commit to supporting their employees to improve their basic skills.
"We realise our plans are ambitious and that significant resources will be required to support these programmes and initiatives. We recognise and value our partners in delivering this Strategy and will strengthen existing partnerships to reach and help as many people as possible."