Be honest, friend. Are you suffering from PIAAC fatigue yet? If the answer is a resounding yes, I will try your patience nevertheless by welcoming you to the March thematic issue of LLinE, dedicated entirely to the multicountry adult skills survey. There are good reasons to delve into the study yet again.
When the OECD unveiled first results of PIAAC in last October, even mainstream media in most of Europe was briefly awash with analyses, comments and soundbites of the findings. “German adults read badly!” wrote the Spiegel. “A million working-aged people have poor computer skills” wrote the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat. The Italian La Repubblica reached the height of self-flagellation: “Italians can neither read nor count!”
After a few raunchy headlines, PIAAC vanished from radar and from the public mind. The study and its results, however, are too nuanced to be understood through superficial media headlines. We, as educators, must keep the debate alive on what PIAAC really says and what the results might mean for adult education.
To be able to do this we must ourselves understand the background, strengths and shortcomings of the study a bit better. This issue aims to do precisely that and more. We also want to hear what the European adult learner thinks of the study and of his or her own skills. We ask whether PIAAC’s analyses of working life skills ring true in the actual workplace. We asked education advocates how they have used the results in their work and we asked policymakers to reply to them. We even get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the study, in William Thorn’s article on the adventure of planning PIAAC.
As always, enjoy LLinE.