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Old 08.11.2012, 02:20
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Seriously...

I would have never guessed this in my wildest imagination. I would expect this kind of thing in the United States (I believe the rate is 14%), particularly Arkansas, but not CH. Apparently, illiteracy is becoming a global epidemic.

Anyone have information on this?

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Roughly 15 percent of people in Switzerland are illiterate

Roughly 15 percent of people in Switzerland are classed as illiterate. That is about 800,000 with reading and writing difficulties. Two-thirds of these are migrants or non-native speakers. Someone who can’t read the basic instructions of how often to take medicine for example, would be in this category. Thomas Sommer, from the Institute of Research and Development at the reading centre of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Northwestern Switzerland tells WRS’s Jo Fahy that reaching out to people with these difficulties is a major hurdle
Source: http://worldradio.ch/wrs/news/switze...te.shtml?33210
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  #2  
Old 08.11.2012, 06:44
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Re: Seriously...

Yep - since they relaxed border controls.
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Old 08.11.2012, 07:03
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Re: Seriously...

Bloody foreigners !
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Old 08.11.2012, 07:12
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Re: Seriously...

There's a big difference between being illiterate in the true sense of the word, and not speaking the local language, at least in terms of correlations to poverty/crime/general negativity.

Hell, I'm probably considered just above functional literacy in German, and last I checked, I'm not a leech on society.

And interestingly, according to Wikipedia (which is, of course, not necessarily the best source ever), Italy has the highest functional illiteracy rate at close to 47%, and Ireland (22.6%), the UK (21.8%), the US (20%), New Zealand (18.4%), and Australia (17%) are all higher on the list that Switzerland (15.9%).
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Old 08.11.2012, 08:01
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Re: Seriously...

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I would have never guessed this in my wildest imagination. I would expect this kind of thing in the United States (I believe the rate is 14%), particularly Arkansas, but not CH. Apparently, illiteracy is becoming a global epidemic.

Anyone have information on this?
Source: http://worldradio.ch/wrs/news/switze...te.shtml?33210
Is this figure actually growing ( what was it five years ago?) or getting smaller?

Does it refer to being able to read, or just being able ot read and comprehend in the local language? I have lived in three countries where I was totally illiterate , plus more where I would be able to phonetically read a medicine bottle's instruction, but have no clue as to what it meant.
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Old 08.11.2012, 08:16
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Re: Seriously...

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I would have never guessed this in my wildest imagination. I would expect this kind of thing in the United States (I believe the rate is 14%), particularly Arkansas, but not CH. Apparently, illiteracy is becoming a global epidemic.

Anyone have information on this?



Source: http://worldradio.ch/wrs/news/switze...te.shtml?33210

" Reading & Writing Difficulties " is NOT illiteracy . Iliteracy in the world in the past 50 years had decreased tremendously worldwide, down from more than 80% in many countries to less than 20% now.

BUT highly developed countries now find out that while actual iliteracy is at below 2%, there is a serious number of people who once learnt to read and write, at least theoretically, but later on avoided both and are functional illiterates . This is the reason why newspapers like Blick and Bild etc have half their texts in headlines-size, magazines like those of COOP and Migros have most texts in blue and red and green in extra size, and why airlines tend to write their names onto their airplanes as large as possible, covering the entire fuselage !
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Old 08.11.2012, 08:39
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Re: Seriously...

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I would have never guessed this in my wildest imagination. I would expect this kind of thing in the United States (I believe the rate is 14%), particularly Arkansas, but not CH. Apparently, illiteracy is becoming a global epidemic.

Anyone have information on this?



Source: http://worldradio.ch/wrs/news/switze...te.shtml?33210
The difference here is when talking about the US you're talking about people not being able to speak the language they were taught at school there, and not necessarily foreigners I would guess. With nearly 1 in 4 of the Swiss population being non-Swiss that figure doesn't surprise me. It's probably part of the reason that Switzerland brought in the language proficiency test for permit holders. Technically I'm not illiterate as I can understand French enough to read the instructions on a medicine bottle, but I'm still very basic in the spoken and written side of things. Thank goodness for translation software.
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Old 08.11.2012, 09:58
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Re: Seriously...

Now, before we go blaming pesky furriners (like me ), the Schweizer Dachverband Lesen und Schreiben has a slightly different take on those numbers:
http://www.lesenschreiben.ch/cms/page.php?p=9

According to their numbers functional illerateracy in Switzerland is found among:

"366'000 Personen Schweizer Nationalität im Alter von 16 bis 65 Jahren sind von schwerem Illettrismus betroffen.

415'500 Personen ausländischer Nationalität sind von schwerem Illettrismus betroffen.

Dazu kommen noch 4000 bis 5000 Schüler und Schülerinnen, welche jedes Jahr die obligatorische Schule mit derart ungenügendem Niveau verlassen, dass ihre Chancen, in einer Berufslehre erfolgreich zu sein, stark eingeschränkt sind (5 bis 7 Prozent jeder Alterklasse).
"

366,000 people of Swiss nationality, 415,500 of foreign nationality. Which if I'm not totally innumerate is a split of 46.83%-53.17%, somewhat different from the 1/3 to 2/3 split of the report.

But foreigner/Swiss - does that really matter? The key issues is that there are people living in Switzerland who need help who are not getting it.

I see the most worrying point from the SDLS article is the 4,000 to 5,000 school children leaving obligatory schooling functionally illiterate each year. That says to me that there is an on-going problem that the schools are not addressing.

From articles I've read, the subject still seems to be largely taboo - and if we don't admit to a problem little is likely to be done to address it.

(I do wonder, though, if I would fall under the functionally illiterate numbers. Yes, I read German and even enough French to get by - but my written efforts are... mistake laden, to say the least.)

Last edited by meloncollie; 08.11.2012 at 11:12. Reason: I might not be illiterate, but I certainly can't type :-)
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Old 08.11.2012, 10:20
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Re: Seriously...

When I first arrived here, family here told me that the Swiss are the most (functionally) illiterate nation on earth Why? Because they do not read!

Their language is not a written language, and so, to read they then have only books in their "learned" language - which is not a "comfortable" way to read. (Like me - I fall asleep if I try to read a book written in German!)

I`ve noticed this lack of reading in my grandchildren - they will rip open a box and attempt to assemble something without glancing at the instructions, or look for picture instructions!
If there`s a particularly eye-catching photo in a newspaper, they`ll attempt to decipher it, without actually reading the by-lines.

I`ve also seen this sort-of "slow-motion" style of reading in adults. Whenever I ask for clarrification of a german word in an article, they do a "mime" almost of reading - mouthing the words one by one.

Whereas with English speaking "normal literate" folk, they need to only glance at the entire sentence to get the gist of the (difficult) word.

Children particularly are becoming "visual", unable to use their brain parts like the previous generations, when reading or listening (to stories) so they get bored, unable to conjure up images?

Last edited by smoky; 08.11.2012 at 10:21. Reason: typo
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Old 08.11.2012, 10:47
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Re: Seriously...

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This is the reason why newspapers like Blick and Bild etc have half their texts in headlines-size, magazines like those of COOP and Migros have most texts in blue and red and green in extra size, and why airlines tend to write their names onto their airplanes as large as possible, covering the entire fuselage !
Illiteracy isn't the same as short-sightedness, you know. If it is, I've got a lot more illiterate in the last few years.
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Old 08.11.2012, 11:01
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Re: Seriously...

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The difference here is when talking about the US you're talking about people not being able to speak the language they were taught at school there, and not necessarily foreigners I would guess. With nearly 1 in 4 of the Swiss population being non-Swiss that figure doesn't surprise me. It's probably part of the reason that Switzerland brought in the language proficiency test for permit holders. Technically I'm not illiterate as I can understand French enough to read the instructions on a medicine bottle, but I'm still very basic in the spoken and written side of things. Thank goodness for translation software.
This all makes sense, until you hear Swiss people speak German...
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Old 08.11.2012, 21:15
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Re: Seriously...

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The difference here is when talking about the US you're talking about people not being able to speak the language they were taught at school there, and not necessarily foreigners I would guess. With nearly 1 in 4 of the Swiss population being non-Swiss that figure doesn't surprise me. It's probably part of the reason that Switzerland brought in the language proficiency test for permit holders. Technically I'm not illiterate as I can understand French enough to read the instructions on a medicine bottle, but I'm still very basic in the spoken and written side of things. Thank goodness for translation software.
It is well known that a good part of those functional illiterates are neither foreigners nor people of foreign origins but "natives". And more often than not out of well-placed families. It is self-evident that a teacher who will work on a pupil who has some probems very hard generally will abstain from doing so if the pupil is the son of a well known director or professor or medical doctor or politician, and will simply give the note 4 (sufficient) to the person in order to avoid "complications". Some teachers also give up hope in case the pupil is out of a poor family with a father who simply is against education. Also in that case, to give a note like 3.5 or 4.0 may be the way out.

Basically, illiteracy is judged on the basis of your native language and the script of that language.
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Old 08.11.2012, 21:23
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Re: Seriously...

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This all makes sense, until you hear Swiss people speak German...
Hearing how rather too many Swiss speak Standard German often is rather a pain, I admit, but that is NOT the problem. I strangely enough in this case think of a chap from Waldshut who had problems to speak Standard German and always spoke in his dialect, but his written Standard German was (is) absolutely superb. Very often when the spoken Standard German of somebody is awful, the written Standard German of the person can be excellent. You therefore in any language-test will be checked on the oral and the writing side, exactly for this reason. No, things are not so easy
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Old 09.11.2012, 00:51
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Re: Seriously...

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It is well known that a good part of those functional illiterates are neither foreigners nor people of foreign origins but "natives". And more often than not out of well-placed families. It is self-evident that a teacher who will work on a pupil who has some probems very hard generally will abstain from doing so if the pupil is the son of a well known director or professor or medical doctor or politician, and will simply give the note 4 (sufficient) to the person in order to avoid "complications". Some teachers also give up hope in case the pupil is out of a poor family with a father who simply is against education. Also in that case, to give a note like 3.5 or 4.0 may be the way out.

Basically, illiteracy is judged on the basis of your native language and the script of that language.
Yes, so the real question here is the metric that is being used in this case to assess the rate of illiteracy at 15%.
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Old 09.11.2012, 19:53
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Re: Seriously...

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I would have never guessed this in my wildest imagination. I would expect this kind of thing in the United States (I believe the rate is 14%), particularly Arkansas, but not CH. Apparently, illiteracy is becoming a global epidemic.

Anyone have information on this?



Source: http://worldradio.ch/wrs/news/switze...te.shtml?33210
Is this German illiterate or any language illiterate?
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Old 09.11.2012, 21:41
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Re: Seriously...

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Is this German illiterate or any language illiterate?
That's why I posted the news article here - I don't know and I thought someone might have more info here, Wolly has given us a good background, but not enough information to infer whether or not for the purposes of this study that they define illiterate as being unable to read and write in their native language. For sure though, if I don't find out by mid-next week I will contact the people named in the story - things are just hellaciously busy around here.
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Old 13.11.2012, 08:42
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Re: Seriously...

Sorry, I only understood 85% of what you wrote. The rest of it was just a cluster of unintelligible squiggles and hieroglyphics.
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Old 13.11.2012, 08:56
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Re: Seriously...

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The difference here is when talking about the US you're talking about people not being able to speak the language they were taught at school there, and not necessarily foreigners I would guess.
That's really weird. I thought that's where all the immigrants headed. What was I thinking? I swear. Is this lazy fact checking day there?
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Old 13.11.2012, 09:33
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Re: Seriously...

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That's really weird. I thought that's where all the immigrants headed. What was I thinking? I swear. Is this lazy fact checking day there?
Surprise, surprise, all the countries with low immigration have good Pisa scores in reading/functional literacy rates. Apples and oranges and all that. The US has exactly the same problems as Switzerland; due to the high rate of immigration some locals don't get the attention they'd require.
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Old 13.11.2012, 09:59
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Re: Seriously...

An article in 24heures last week:

30% of the candidates for the cantonal police college failed the French grammar test in the pre-screening that just took place.

The police say that this really complicates their recruiting efforts.

Link FR: http://www.24heures.ch/vaud-regions/...story/20261144
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