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European core problem: literacy - one in five Europeans find it hard to read

Friday, 07 September 2012
One in five Europeans read so poorly that they can not survive in the modern world, and over 17 per cent of 15 year olds in Sweden are at a level where they can only handle the simplest texts.

The Swedish daily, Sydsvenskan has examined  the EU report on the issues of European literacy and identified that the highest percentage of poor readers in the Union is found in Bulgaria, 41 percent. Lowest proportion is in Finland, 8.1 percent.

The EU's goal is that the share of poor readers among 15-year olds will decline to 15 percent within eight years.

According to the report there are great differences between the sexes in terms of literacy. While more than one in four 15-year-old boy has poor literacy, the same holds just over 13 per cent for girls of the same age.

The Committee of Experts points to factors including the importance of attracting more men to the teaching profession, so that they can serve as a role model for boys and lure them to more reading.
Difference in literacy between the sexes is at least in the Netherlands, Denmark and Belgium, and the largest in Malta, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

The group recommends several measures to increase literacy among children and young people. Among other things, the young people should be encouraged to a more varied reading such as from comics to novels and e-books. In low-and middle school there is the need of more teachers who specialize in reading instruction and students with limitations should get individual support.

For the younger children group, the report notes that children who attended preschool are more literate than children who did not.
"The vast majority of children and adults with poor reading skills were born and bred in the country where they live," the report says.

Sweden is one of the minority of EU countries where literacy is reported to have gotten worse between 2006 and 2009. The proportion of low - achieving pupils in reading in the periodic comparative, the so-called PISA surveys increased from 15.3 percent in 2006 to 17, 4 percent in 2009.

The view is also held that poor literacy would have a strong connection with immigration.
By Team

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