National Adult Literacy Awareness Week is being celebrated this week in the South Tipperary VEC Adult Learning Scheme. The aim of the week is to raise awareness of the literacy issue in Ireland and inform people about all the free courses available to improve their reading, writing and maths skills. Throughout the week members of the public can drop into the Clonmel Centre on Dillon Street to find out more about the learning services available to them.
One person who did this last year said, “I was a bit nervous approaching the Adult learning office but I needn’t have been. I was made at home from the first time I entered the centre”. Since then he has never looked back.
“When I went to school and couldn’t keep up you would be left at the back of the class and nobody cared. Now things have got better and that fear that I felt has gone. It is great that I can sit down and help my children with their homework. It’s all thanks to everybody at the scheme,” said another student.
“At this time of year lots of people are thinking about returning to learning and brushing up on their reading, writing and maths skills. They are people who want to catch up on the skills they missed at school, parents who want to help children with their homework, workers who would like to go for promotion but don’t have the confidence to sit an exam and there are those who would simply like to write a letter or send an e-mail,” said Mary Roche, Adult Literacy Organiser.
“Sometimes people are very worried about returning to education and hide their difficulties with reading and writing from their friends and family. However this does not have to be the case and we encourage anyone to pick up the phone or drop into us here in Dillon Street. Adult education here is a very different experience to school and it can open many doors for people once they get started. There’s no need to be worried about attending a course. You can work at your own pace, either on a one-to-one basis with a tutor, or if you feel like it you can join a group. The great thing is that you are not alone - there are thousands of adults attending courses around the country. Although it requires some work it’s a great experience that opens up a whole new world of opportunities in a friendly and relaxed environment. Not only do people improve their old skills but they also gain the confidence to go on to learn new ones,” Mary said.
While there are currently 45,000 people taking part in adult literacy courses around the country, there are still many who are living with a literacy difficulty. In the last OECD survey it was estimated that one in four Irish adults has problems with even the simplest literacy task such as reading instructions on a bottle of aspirin. However most adults with low literacy skills can read something but find it hard to understand official forms and instructions. Some will have left school confident about their numeracy and reading skills but find that changes in their workplace and everyday life make their skills inadequate. The literacy skills demanded by society are changing all the time.
National Adult Literacy Awareness Week is held every year in September to raise awareness of tuition options nationally and highlight the benefits of improving reading, writing and maths skills.
People should feel free to drop into the Adult Literacy Centre in Clonmel to find out more about these learning options. They can also telephone the scheme on 052-6127543 to find out about tuition options available in Carrick-on-Suir, Cahir, Cashel, Killenaule and Tipperary Town.