Poor literacy annually costs Dutch society €1 billion: study
Poor literacy costs the Netherlands about 1 billion euros per year, according to a study commissioned by the Dutch Reading and Writing foundation. The costs come from the fact that people who struggle with reading and writing are more often unemployed, more often make use of healthcare and when they do have a job, it often pays little money, the foundation said, according to NOS.
Four years ago a similar study concluded that poor literacy costs the Netherlands about 500 million euros per year. According to the foundation, the higher amount in this study can largely be attributed to this study including all the poorly literate people in the Netherlands. The 2013 study did not include poorly literate elderly or people who can't do mathematics. That study counted 1.3 million poorly literate people in the Netherlands. This study counted a total of 2.5 million people.
According to Mariette Hamer, board member of the Reading and Writing foundation, basic skills such as literacy, numeracy and digital skills should be part of basic necessities This means that everyone, regardless of age, should be entitled to training in these skills. The foundation also calls for more attention to the language skills of young people. A recent study by the foundation found that an increasing number of 15-year-olds have trouble reading and writing. Currently one in six Dutch 15-year-olds can't read well enough to follow a movie's subtitles.