Literacy in Quebec: despite improving skills, deficiencies persist

MONTREAL — Literacy proficiency has improved over the past ten years in Quebec, but people who lack literacy suffer negative consequences on their well-being and undermine the potential for social and economic growth of the entire community. Quebec society.

A new study unveiled Thursday by the Literacy Foundation indicates that 46% of the Quebec population will not reach level three in literacy skills this year. This level corresponds in particular to the ability to understand longer and more dense texts, to correctly interpret their meaning and to make appropriate connections between the different ideas they contain.

The percentage of people achieving level three in literacy is 7% higher than that measured in 2012.

The new study conducted by economist Pierre Langlois also reveals that significant progress could be made by closing the considerable gap in the graduation rates of Quebec boys. Their graduation level of 80% places them behind girls in Quebec, at 88%, and behind boys in the rest of Canada, at 87%.

The study believes that by solving this problem, it would be possible to remove 12,500 individuals from the population pool that presents literacy issues. An interpretation of the data also leads to the conclusion that Quebec’s gross domestic product (GDP) would benefit from an annual economic gain of $165 million.

The Literacy Foundation maintains that the graduation rate has a direct impact on the level of literacy. Thus, 85% of individuals without a secondary school diploma (DES) do not reach level three of literacy skills. In comparison, 63% of individuals who hold such a diploma do not reach level three, which represents an improvement of more than 20 percentage points.

The authors of the study observed that this trend continues at the graduate level of the academic path.

Pierre Langlois affirms that literacy issues have consequences on the ability of individuals to progress in their career, on their level of income as well as on their access to diplomas. Low literacy causes a spiral of social and economic vulnerability from which it is very difficult to escape, in his opinion.


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