[lg policy] Netherlands literacy policy fails with 2.5 million illiterate

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at gmail.com
Fri Apr 22 14:37:28 UTC 2016

Netherlands literacy policy fails with 2.5 million illiterate
Posted on Apr 21, 2016 <http://www.nltimes.nl/2016/04/> by Janene Pieters
[image: Reading (Photo: One City One Story/Wikimedia Commons)]
*Reading (Photo: One City One Story/Wikimedia Commons)*

The Dutch government is failing in their efforts to reduce illiteracy in
the Netherlands, according to a report by the Court of Audit. A massive 2.5
million people in the Netherlands can be considered illiterate.

The official figures show that 1.3 million people in the country can not
read and write well enough to be considered literate. When people who can
not deal with basic math or technology, also considered illiterate, are
added, that number increases to 2.5 million – one in five adults in the
Netherlands. And these figures exclude people over the age of 65.

According to the Court, there is a “gap between the problem and the
approach”. “It is unclear what the government policy contributes to the
decrease in the number of illiterate people”, the Court writes.

In reaction to the report Minister Jet Bussemaker of Education stated that
illiteracy is a “stubborn and complex” issue that can not be solved
quickly, NU.nl reports. She considers it unlikely that the number of
illiterate people will decrease rapidly in the coming years.

The government wants to help 45 thousand people master the Dutch language
in the coming years. But as the government can’t say when a person will
master the language, it is unclear whether this policy is bearing fruit.

Last year Bussemaker said that throwing more money at the problem will not
help. The Court of Audit disagrees, pointing to long waiting lists for
language courses in some places. According to the Court, these waiting
lists are partly the result of too little funding. The Minister said she
will address the waiting lists, but she believes that more language lessons
can be given for the same money.


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