The term ‘basic education’ means different things to different people and is a term that has changed over time. In some places it is used to refer to literacy and numeracy education, in others it is seen as covering simple and fundamental knowledge in subjects such as health and science. Today it can be used to cover a range of life and generic skills such as working in teams, problem solving, learning strategies, self management, IT skills. These skills may also be referred to as employability skills or core skills for work.
International adult literacy and numeracy surveys1 have measured participants on a scale of one to five, one being the lowest and five being the highest. The table below shows the percentage of adult Victorians at the different levels. These statistics come from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC, 2013).
1 International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS), 1996; Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALLS), 2006; and Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), 2013.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has additional information about the literacy and numeracy levels of adult Victorians and other Australians.
Adult literacy and numeracy programs are offered by all TAFE Institutes in Victoria and many Learn Local Centres (neighbourhood houses and community centres).There are a number of ways you can find out about adult literacy and numeracy programs:
VALBEC does not recommend specific organisations or programs but rather encourages you to find out about courses in your local region and make a decision about what best suits you and your learning needs.
It can be very difficult for people with poor literacy skills to use a self-directed learning kit, software or on-line package as they may find it difficult to decide where to start and which areas to focus on. While it would be best to contact an organisation offering adult literacy tuition, for some people getting to an adult literacy class or working with a volunteer tutor can be problematic for a range of reasons.
People in this situation may like to try some of the resources listed below. These are all designed for adults and can be used without support (although having support from a family member or friend would be better)
These CDs are produced by Protea Textware.
Please note: VALBEC does not endorse any of the above products.
See also VALBEC’s Resources page.
VALBEC suggests that those seeking to improve their numeracy skills would be best to contact an education organisation offering adult numeracy skill development. However, for those unable to get to a class or work with a volunteer tutor the following resources may be of assistance:
Please note: VALBEC does not endorse any of the above products.
Qualifications required by different education providers and to teach different courses will differ. VALBEC advises that you check with the organisation/s you are interested in working in.
To work effectively in adult literacy and numeracy VALBEC believes it is advisable to hold a tertiary teaching qualification (e.g. Bachelor, Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate of Education) and a qualification in adult literacy and or numeracy (e.g. Graduate Diploma of Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy, Vocational Graduate Certificate in Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice or the Vocational Graduate Diploma in Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice).
For those wanting to teach English as a Second Language, there are a number of qualifications offered by universities. Some of these courses may have units in adult literacy teaching.
Adult literacy and numeracy teachers work in TAFE, Learn Local Centres (neighbourhood houses and community centres), private Registered Training Organisations or community colleges. Some work in industry but they are usually employed by TAFE or Learn Local Centres.
Mostly the work on offer will be sessional or part-time, so it depends on what type of employment you are seeking. The hourly rate will vary as will the number of hours available so it’s best to approach the organisation and discuss employment conditions with them.
VALBEC’s Where to learn page could be a starting point or contact the appropriate Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s regional offices. You could also contact your local TAFE.
‘I’m a VET teacher. How can I support students in my classes who struggle with the literacy and numeracy requirements of the subject / course?’
If you are a VET teacher/trainer you will already have done the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (TAA). As part of this you may have done the elective unit TAELLN401A Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills. If you haven’t done this unit, ask your employer to organise for you to do this. From the middle of 2014 all new VET trainers will do this unit as a part of the Certificate IV in TAA and the following year all trainers will need to have done the unit.
TAELLN401A Address adult language, literacy and numeracy skills is only an introduction to adult literacy, language and numeracy and you may feel you want more knowledge and skills in this area. A further unit is the TAELLN501B Support the development of adult language literacy and numeracy skills which, at the moment, is an elective unit in the Diploma of Vocational Education and Training.
You could also consider undertaking the Vocational Graduate Certificate in Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice or the Vocational Graduate Diploma in Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice.
Registered Training Organisations should have a process in place to support students who have difficulty with the literacy and numeracy requirements of courses.
Adult literacy, numeracy and English as a second language (ESL) teachers may work in your organisation. They can provide ideas about how best to support students in your classes. You may also need to refer students to them for additional support.
If your organisation doesn’t have literacy, numeracy or ESL teachers, you may need to refer students to other education organisations. There are a number of ways you can find adult literacy and numeracy programs:
There are no formal education requirements but you should be competent in, and have some knowledge of, spelling, grammar, numeracy and spoken English. Most organisations require that you complete a volunteer tutor training program and you will also need: