The perilous state of literacy in New Zealand
A 2020 UNICEF report found that only 64.6% of 15-year-olds in Aotearoa New Zealand have more than a basic proficiency in reading and maths. Turning that around, a staggering 35.4% – over a third of 15-year-olds – struggle to read and write. Given the critical (and growing) importance of literacy, not only for education and employment but also for broader life outcomes, this statistic is deeply worrying.
Over the past year, The Education Hub has conducted an extensive literature review in order to understand more fully exactly where Aotearoa New Zealand is at in terms of literacy achievement, how we got here, and what might be done to turn the situation around. To launch the report based on this research, we hosted a panel discussion.
Report co-author Dr Nina Hood moderated a discussion with:
Professor Stuart McNaughton – Chief Education Scientific Advisor and University of Auckland
Professor Gail Gillon (Ngāi Tahu) – literacy expert at the University of Canterbury
Barbara Ala’alatoa – Principal at Sylvia Park Primary School in Auckland
Taylor Hughson – co-author of the report