“Australia’s declining rates of reading skills is a national disgrace,” said the CEO of the World Literacy Foundation, Mr Andrew Kay.
“Clearly, Federal and State Governments, Education Unions and other leaders in the sector have failed our children. Australia’s drop in literacy skills from 4th in 2003 to 16th in 2018 should set off alarm bells in the whole community.
“We must provide every child a chance to learn to read.
“We estimate the annual social and economic cost of illiteracy is hundreds of millions in Australia.
“If a child struggles to read, they often become an adult who struggles with issues related to unemployment, welfare, crime and health.
“Research tells us that for every $1 spent on good quality early childhood literacy development, returns back $7 to the economy.
“Our society has a moral obligation to ensure each student can read fluently in their early years and it starts from birth.
“It is the fault of Governments who have not lifted education funding in early childhood literacy development.
“Also, parents need to read to children from birth and be their child’s first teacher.
“The Programme for International Student Assessment results release today should be a wake-up call to the whole community,” Mr Kay conculded.
The World Literacy Foundation is a peak non-government charitable organisation striving to lift literacy rates in Australia and beyond.