According to the National Board of Education, there is a clear gap in the literacy skills of children and adolescents. This is reflected in the fact that some primary school children can read long texts with little effort and evaluate the reliability of online sources, while others still have reading difficulties in high school.
One of the goals of the new national literacy strategy to be published on Tuesday is to address this differentiation and offset the effects of factors affecting literacy. These include home background, personal learning difficulties, and time spent reading outside of school.
According to the National Board of Education, the average literacy level of Finns is good, but competence varies in all age groups. Literacy among young people in particular has clearly declined over the last two decades. According to the 2018 Pisa results, almost 14% of young Finns have insufficient literacy to cope comfortably with everyday situations. Youth literacy has declined, especially in those groups where parents or carers have only a basic education or where the value of learning and culture is low.
Media sources need to be evaluated
The new strategy, which is now being launched, aims to improve the media literacy skills of Finnish adults. This means a better ability to interpret a variety of communications, including images, statistics, and text, and to evaluate their reliability, source, and forms of expression.
The goal is to make the Finnish population the most media literate in the world by 2030.
According to the Board of Education, this type of diverse literacy helps prevent social exclusion and increases the ability to function in modern society.
"As society changes, so do the requirements for literacy. We want to keep everyone involved, and therefore multilingualism must be maintained and developed in everyday life, work and study," says the Minister of Education Lee Andersson (left) in a press release on the subject.
One way to move toward this goal is to train teachers, health care, and library professionals. Special attention is paid to the reading and writing skills of Finnish or Swedish as a second language, integration education, the teaching of the mother tongue of pupils with an immigrant background and multilingual teaching.
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