Basic skills

* In the area of basic skills, currently being reviewed by Sir Claus Moser, chairman of the Basic Skills Agency, the AOC feels that there is room for improving professional practice in the colleges.

Some 20 per cent of the population have trouble reading and writing, with a slightly higher proportion lacking numeracy skills. Fewer than 5 per cent of these people try to find out how they can improve these skills.

It is currently not unusual to find basic skills in the colleges being taught by unqualified or inexperienced staff. There is often a mistaken presumption that anyone can teach basic skills because as long as they can write a sentence they can teach other people to do so, too.

The reverse is probably the case. Basic skills demand specialist staff. The AOC is calling for the creation of a generic initial teaching-training qualification with a basic skills focus and the development of national accreditation in basic skills.

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