Mar 15, 2021, Irish Times: Government to increase education support staff as part of literacy strategy ‘We risk losing a generation’ warns Minister, as 1 in 6 adults has problems reading https://www.irishtimes.com/news/education/government-to-increase-education-support-staff-as-part-of-literacy-strategy-1.4510128 A significant increase in adult education support staff is one of the key recommendations of a major 10-year Government strategy on literacy, numeracy and digital skills to be launched next month. The cross-departmental strategy aims to tackle a significant issue in Irish society with one in six adults having problems reading and understanding information, while half the adult population lacks basic digital or computer skills. Minister for Higher and Further Education Simon Harris has warned that “we are at risk of leaving a generation of people behind if we do not take action”. Despite Ireland’s reputation for having one of the best education systems in the world, Mr Harris told the Dáil last week that the numbers of people struggling with literacy and numeracy issues was a “failure of the State and of public services”.... “One of the overwhelming responses is the fear of stigma and embarrassment associated with literacy difficulties. It is the main barrier to people accessing help. Ending the stigma and delivering the assistance people need is the aim of this plan,” he said…. The strategy calls for advertising and public awareness campaigns, considering them the most important way to raise awareness and encourage participation in courses. Practical training It favours a focus on practical training for everyday functions including financial tasks such as banking, budgeting, paying bills, as well as engaging with public, medical and other services, and being able to understand information supplied….