ACAL Conference 2019 Sydney

Photo by Jamie Davies on Unsplash

ACAL Conference 2019 Sydney Save the date!

Conference Theme: Critical re-imagining: adult literacy and numeracy practices for sustainable development
Dates: Pre-conference Thursday 3rd October 2019; conference Friday 4th October to Saturday 5th October.

Australia is a signatory to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This Agenda has been developed as ‘a plan for action for people, planet and prosperity’. It is a plan to end poverty and hunger, to protect our planet, to enable all human beings to enjoy prosperous and fulfilling lives in peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

This conference invites participants to consider the role of adult literacy and numeracy education in promoting this agenda including the most directly pertinent goal to our field: Goal 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.

ACAL’s response to the VET Review

In late November the government vocational education and training (VET) sector review asked for input by January 25, 2019

Over the break the ACAL committee produced this response.

Review website


tape measureMember Survey

In 1979 Darryl Dymock, then Honorary Secretary of ACAL, realised that adult literacy across Australia was ‘difficult to piece together because of the diversity of provision and the lack of documentation’ (Dymock 1982,p3). He therefore set about surveying adult literacy programs across Australia to understand who was in the field and what mattered to them. He published his results in a booklet published by ACAL in 1982.

Fast forward to 2019 and we are still questioning the diversity of the field, and particularly who our members are and what the hot topics are that interest them. Please take a moment to complete our short online survey to tell us about your adult literacy and numeracy context and the issues that matter to you. We will share the results in the following newsletter.

Survey monkey link

Ref Dymock, D, 1982. Adult literacy provision in Australia: trends and needs, ACAL.

Please complete the survey by March 31.


What we asked the pollies …Parliament House forecourt

This is the email that we have sent out to Federal Ministers and Shadow Ministers as well as Green and Independent politicians. We hope that we will be able to share their responses with you through our newsletters and on the ACAL website.

The Australian Council of Adult Literacy is a key body representing individuals and organisations concerned with adult literacy in Australia. We are writing to you and a number of key politicians to ascertain your views on a number of critical issues of concern for our members. We are hoping that your office might provide short written responses to the questions below. Your responses will be published in our newsletter and on the ACAL website.

  1. As an adult, have you engaged in any formal learning? How did you find the experience?
  2. What do you envisage are the challenges and opportunities for adult literacy and numeracy learners in Australia?
  3. What role does adult literacy and numeracy play in Australia’s future?
  4. A number of other countries have policies on literacy and numeracy for adults. What do you think we can learn from these nations?
  5. Do you think Australia needs a new policy on adult literacy and numeracy?

We are hoping to publish our interviews in our newsletter. If your office could consider a response, it would be appreciated by our members.


Have you read it? – Feb 2019

A review of documents relating to adult literacy and numeracy

Jo Medlin has reviewed two documents of interest to adult literacy and numeracy educators and provided the links to access them:

  • Literacy and Numeracy Studies: An international journal in the education and training of adults

  • The very recent VET review  

Training Awards

Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award
2018 Winner
Lidia Lipkiewicz, South Australia

Lidia Lipkiewicz

When Lidia was a TAFE lecturer in 1995, she was working with a group of disengaged youths from one of Australia’s most disadvantaged areas. The students had low levels of literacy, low self-esteem, lacked confidence, and didn’t want to be in the classroom.

Lidia found a way to get the students working by creating an action/competency/project based learning environment and has been hooked on this method ever since.

She is now teaching English to migrant job-seekers. With the new funding model, the push for employment outcomes and greater scrutiny on quality and reporting systems, with reduced resources, posed a challenge.  Lidia saw an opportunity, and with the backing of her managers, introduced a weekly, project-based program called ‘Plan a Project’. The program helped students gain the English skills and confidence essential to the work place and develop employability skills. A large percentage of them got jobs.

Full list of 2018 Australian Training Award winners

ACAL Conference • September 12-14, 2018 • Melbourne

Presentations are available now ▷

Workplace Literacy in Australia– A Joint Position Statement

from Community Colleges Australia, Australian Industry Group, Reading Writing Hotline, Australian Council for Adult Literacy and Adult Learning Australia here

The second cycle of PIAAC – what’s the story?

blackboard drawing paper planeThe OECD’s Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) conducts the Survey of Adult Skills. The survey measures adults’ proficiency in key information-processing skills – literacy, numeracy and problem solving – and gathers information and data on how adults use their skills at home, at work and in the wider community. PIAAC was conducted by ABS in Australia in 2011/12 and was an extension of the earlier International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) and the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALLS) surveys. Australia participated in IALS in 1996 and ALLS in 2006.


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