4.1 Adult Literacy and Numeracy
Why is it significant? 
Most jobs require some competence in basic skills, and 50 per cent of jobs are closed to those who lack literacy and numeracy skills at level 1. 


How does the UK perform?
The extent of the poor basic skills can be seen in a comparison with other countries. The International Adult Literacy Survey (1997) shows that, although all countries have significant proportions of adults with poor literacy, the UK and US perform worse than most (chart 4.1.1). 
In 2001 the Government the launched Skills for Life, the national strategy for improving adult literacy and numeracy skills. By 2006, the Government aims to raise the qualifications of the population to higher levels. Chart 4.1.2 shows the per cent of pupils achieving the expected standard in Key Stage 2 tests in English and Mathematics since 1996. The target for 2006 is 85 per cent.