Reading (Photo: One City One Story/Wikimedia Commons) - Credit: Reading (Photo: One City One Story/Wikimedia Commons)
Thursday, 21 April 2016 - 11:32
Netherlands literacy policy fails with 2.5 million illiterate
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.