NZ ranks high in adult skills: OECD

by L&D29 Jun 2016

New Zealanders are among the best in the world when it comes to problem solving using technology, according to the latest OECD research.

Moreover, New Zealand’s ranking in adult literacy has jumped to fourth in the OECD from 12th in 1996.

The Survey of Adult Skills shows Japan first in adult literacy, followed by Finland, the Netherlands and New Zealand. It was also just ahead of Australia.

“These results are great news for our economy and our society," said New Zealand's Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Steven Joyce

"Our workforce needs world class skills and knowledge that will boost the productivity of the New Zealand economy. A more highly skilled, highly qualified workforce is essential and that must include good literacy skills across the board.

“The progress we have made is a real tribute to the adult educators and all those involved in improving literacy in New Zealand.”

New Zealand is also amongst the top performers in a skill that’s been tested for the first time in the OECD survey - problem solving using technology.

“We rank fifth for this important skill and have the highest proportion of adults with moderate to high problem solving skills using computers," said Joyce.

"These are skills increasingly called for in today’s working environments.”

Adult numeracy skills have been steady in New Zealand since 2006. The nation is ranked 13th in the OECD, ahead of Australia, Canada and Singapore and the OECD average.

The NZ Government said they have been particularly focused on improving adult literacy and numeracy in recent years, especially in the workplace.

More than 6100 New Zealanders aged 16-65 took part, and the 35-44 age group had the highest average numeracy and literacy scores.