Why old people are to blame for low literacy

Elderly man pretends to read in bid to avoid institutionalization

Yay! Go Canada!

The number of people with low literacy skills in Vancouver is predicted to increase 64 per cent over the next 20 years to more than 1.3 million people. Among them will be about 268,715 senior citizens — 144 per cent more than there are now. The total number of low literacy immigrants in Vancouver is expected to increase 93 per cent over the same time period.

“It’s surprising for people who think that the problem of low levels of literacy among Canadian adults will improve over time, because they won’t,” Canadian Council on Learning President and CEO Paul Cappon said. “And that includes in the bigger cities where people might have thought you’d get the most improvement.” About 48 per cent of Canadian adults are considered to be at a low literacy level, according to the Canadian Council on Learning, which means they have difficulty reading, comprehending and functioning effectively with written material.

While projections show that percentage isn’t expected to change, the total number is expected to reach 15 million by 2031 — an increase of 25 per cent since 2001 — as the major factor behind that trend is the projected growth in the number of senior citizens and immigrants, the report said.

The absolute lack of embarrassment here is almost as astounding as the claim that an increase in age can be equated with a decrease in literacy.

But, of course, they're not really talking about literacy, are they? They're talking about employability.

Which leads to the other astounding bit - that passages like this are showing up in so many newsletters from organizations allegedly devoted to literacy.

You remember literacy, don't you? Reading? Writing? A little math? The kind of thing your grandmother might have done. Yes, even when she was old.

Yes, yes... I know what you're saying. "Literacy" isn't only reading and writing. But in the new framework literacy isn't even reading and writing. Or, rather, being able to read and write isn't seen as enough to be declared appropriately literate.

The "major factor behind" increasing numbers of low literate people "is the projected growth in the number of senior citizens." I'm only 48, but still.

Makes me wonder how many years I've got left.

Maybe I should go kick Paul Cappon's ass have a heart-felt conversation with someone while I'm still young.

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