One in four Scots can’t read this

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Away with ye fancy “Hooked on Phonics” nonsense, laddie! Scotland is suffering from an epidemic of illiteracy that is affecting as many as one in four adults, the GUARDIAN reports.

According to estimates by the Scottish government, up to 1 million Scottish adults are functionally illiterate, 400,000 lack the basic skills to hold a job, and 1.2 million can’t calculate how much change they should get when making a purchase. This is the first ever attempt to measure illiteracy in Scotland (it’s unclear whether that’s because no one in Scotland could do the required math until now). “The problem has got to the stage where it has to be addressed,” said Henry McLeish, the Scottish enterprise and lifelong learning minister. “It is unacceptable in a modern society.”

In nearby England and Wales, there are laws requiring that adults be provided with a basic education, but in Scotland it is discretionary. The shortage of people who can even operate a cash register is apparently having a drastic impact on Scotland’s economy, which has about the same number of job vacancies — 120,000 — as it does people out of work.

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate