31 August 2010
One Dutch worker in fifteen cannot read and write well enough to play a full part in society. As the focus of our economy shifts from manufacturing to services, where the written word is key, it is becoming increasingly difficult for such people to participate in the labour market. During Literacy Week (6-12 September), all kinds of activities are being organised to raise awareness of the problem of functional illiteracy. During Literacy Week, a banner will be hanging from the offices of the Dutch Social and Economic Council (SER) with the slogan "Learn to read and write". In 2007, the Labour Foundation concluded an agreement with the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, and the Ministry for Youth and Families in a bid to tackle functional illiteracy in industry. Employers have an important role to play in combating functional illiteracy: they can raise awareness of the issue and offer training to their employees.