Statistical information relating to functional literacy in Turkey is limited. The relevant data is directly linked with basic literacy skills. In the 10-year period covering the years 2009-2018, the illiterate population in the age group 15 and up declined from 9.2 percent to 3.6 percent. This ratio decreased from 3.6 percent to 1.1 percent for males and from 6.1 percent to 14.7 percent for females. However, in 2009, 80.4 percent of the illiterate population was women, and in 2018 it increased to 85.2 percent. (Turkish Statistical Institute, 2019).

However, more detailed data on functional literacy can be found in the International Adult Skills Assessment Program (PIAAC) run by the OECD. In this program, the Adult Skills Survey provides a picture of the competences of adulthoods in the three core areas.

  • Verbal skills: the ability to understand and respond to written texts appropriately
  • Numerical Skills: Ability to use numerical and mathematical concepts
  • Technology Problem-Solving Skills in a Rich Environment: Capability of accessing, interpreting and analyzing information in digital environments that are transformed and transmitted.

Compared with other countries the adults of Turkey were performing below average in all three assessment areas (verbal skills, numeracy and problem-solving skills in technology-rich environment). Adults living in Turkey, with 227 points were performing below the OECD average of 268 points under verbal skills. The average score is 219 in Turkey’s numerical competence. and this score is below the OECD average of 263 points. In addition, the majority of adults were unable to demonstrate problem-solving skills in a technology-rich environment. 38% of adults in Turkey (all participating countries / economies on average 14.7%) reported no computer experience before.

As a result, adults in Turkey, compared with other OECD countries assessment made in all three areas (verbal skills, numeracy and problem-solving skills in technology-rich environment) performance is below average

  • The relationship between education level and qualifications in Turkey seem to be quite low compared to other participating countries.
  • Turkey, especially in older adults, the gender differences in information processing skills is one of the countries with the highest.
  • High-skill competencies and level of education in Turkey is no connection with participation in the labor force status.
  • The links of Information processing skills with confidence towards others, the belief that people are active in the political process and so on is quite weak in Turkey compared with other countries.
  • Gender related differences in qualifications, the men in Turkey shows that it has better access to education than women. Women’s conspicuous low performance, especially reveals that gender differences observed in Turkey.

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