Cyprus Mail
Cyprus Education

Older generation better at math and reading

By Poly Pantelides

ALTHOUGH one in every four Cypriots is computer illiterate, those aged between 45 and 65 seem to do better on average when it comes to reading and arithmetic, an international survey showed.

But indicators are lower for younger Cypriots when it comes to the latter skills.

The education ministry yesterday presented the results of an adult-skills survey by the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD. The survey assessed information processing skills in terms of literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in the context of technology-rich environments.

The survey consisted of interviewing 5,000 individuals aged 16 to 25 in each participating country. Among the participating countries were Cyprus, Turkey, Norway, Korea, Germany, Japan, Korea and Canada.

Cyprus’ response rates, at 70 per cent, were at the top tier for the survey, education minister Kyriacos Kenevezos said in a news conference.

The survey was conducted in 2011/2012 in 23 countries, among them 17 EU Member States, representing more than 80 per cent of the EU28 population.

When it came to computer skills, one in four Cypriots – 25 per cent – was at a loss, compared with the international average of 14 per cent. This was particularly felt among Cypriots aged between 55 and 65 years and those with a lower educational level.

But it was those aged between 45 and 56 who performed better than their counterparts in Europe and the world when it came to maths and language.

By contrast, younger age groups who were still in education or had just finished their studies performed worse than the average. This reversed a trend seen in most countries where 16-24 year olds performed better than the 16-65-year-old population. In Cyprus, England and Northern Ireland and Norway, it was the older adults who scored higher.

Cyprus was more homogeneous in terms of gender and across the population with class playing a smaller role in scoring information processing skills.

Lower literacy skills increase people’s chances of being unemployed, said the OECD’s secretary-general Angel Gurría.

“In all countries, individuals with lower proficiency in literacy are more likely than those with better literacy skills to report poor health, to believe that they have little impact on political processes, and not to participate in associative or volunteer activities. In most countries, they are also less likely to trust others,” Gurría said.

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