Extracts from the joint press conference by Androulla Vassiliou, and Angel Gurría, Secretary General of the OECD, on the presentation of the Survey of Adult Skills
Type: Summary of press conference
Brussels - EC/Berlaymont
On 8 October 2013, Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the EC in charge of Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, held a joint press conference with Angel Gurría, Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), to present the Survey of Adult Skills, also known as the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), published by the OECD and the EC.
The survey assesses the literacy, numeracy and problem-solving ICT skills of adults aged 16-65 in 17 EU Member States - Belgium (Flanders), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Cyprus, The Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom (England/Northern Ireland), as well as in Australia, Canada, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.
According to the Survey, one in five adults in Europe have low literacy and numeracy skills, and even a university degree in the same subject is no guarantee of the same level of skills in different countries
These findings underline the need to target investment at improving education and training to increase skills and employability in European countries.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the EC Berlaymont building
||General view of the press room
||SOUNDBITE by Androulla Vassiliou, Member of the EC in charge of Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth, (in ENGLISH) saying that it must be ensured that everyone has the opportunity to acquire and develop a high level of literacy, numeracy and ICT skills, in school and throughout their careers; this is one of the main objectives of the 'Opening up Education' initiative, which she launched with Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the EC in charge of the Digital Agenda, as well as the Commission's broader Europe 2020 strategy for jobs and growth.
||Cutaway of the speakers
||SOUNDBITE by Androulla Vassiliou (in ENGLISH) saying that there are no short-cuts; we have to invest more efficiently in better education and better training to deliver a better blend of skills; we also need to cooperate better, at EU, national and regional level, between public and private sectors, with business, academia, NGOs; we're all in this together; and the Commission practises what it preaches: the Survey presented is the result of excellent cooperation between the European Commission and the OECD; so what does the Survey tell?; in short, it demonstrates how critical high-level skills are in a knowledge-driven society - and the role that education and training plays in improving learning outcomes; it also underlines the need for immediate action at national and EU level to raise our skills.
||Cutaway of the audience
||SOUNDBITE by Angel Gurría, Secretary General of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), (in ENGLISH) saying that the Survey of Adult Skills assesses the countries' talent pools and how well countries use them; that is two different things: to have a talent pool and to extract from it; there is also the question of determining which are the leading skills required: numeracy, literacy, but also dealing with the modern tools of ITC.
||Cutaway of the audience
||SOUNDBITE by Angel Gurría (in ENGLISH) saying that there is a very high disparity of literacy skills; that means that some people have great literacy and others have very low literacy; so you don't have this evenness that you find in more homogenous societies; secondly, proficiency and basic skills affect more that earning and employment; in all countries, adults with lower literacy proficiency are far more likely than those with better literacy skills to report poor health.