Aiken University scholars have released new research which finds that the number of people in Aiken who are literate has risen by 5 per cent in the last decade.
They also believe that the rise in literacy and numeracy has not only been beneficial for the health of our society, but that it has been linked to economic growth.
The study, by researchers at Aiken’s College of Arts and Sciences, is published in the journal Journal of Economic Literature.
The authors say the results show that “the 21st-century economy depends on people being able to learn and think critically about the 21s, and that our society has a huge opportunity to learn from our past”.
They also say that “in order to develop a modern economy, we must create a literate workforce”.
The study found that Aiken is the only city in the US to see a 5 per-cent increase in literacy over the last ten years, with the number in the city’s public schools in 2014-15 rising from 8,906 to 9,622.
The researchers say this represents a 50 per cent increase in the number who are able to read and write, and a 2.8 per cent rise in their total reading and writing levels.
They say this has been driven by a combination of factors including improved school attendance, improved teacher training, and improved technology.
The paper’s co-author, Dr Rene J. Hildebrand, said that while the study did not prove causation, the findings indicated that the increase in reading and literacy is a key driver of economic growth in the country.
“We believe that there is a clear connection between literacy and economic development and we believe that education and literacy have a very strong relationship in our nation,” he said.
Dr Hildebrand, who is also a lecturer in education at the University of Texas, said the study found the rise is not just about the numbers of people enrolled in school, but also the amount of time they spend learning in the classroom. “
It is a positive economic relationship that has not been replicated elsewhere.”
Dr Hildebrand, who is also a lecturer in education at the University of Texas, said the study found the rise is not just about the numbers of people enrolled in school, but also the amount of time they spend learning in the classroom.
“One of the interesting findings in the literature is that there are also positive relationships between reading and numeracies,” he explained.
“In other words, numeracy increases the probability of literacy.
This is a relationship that is not necessarily reflected in a simple measure of how many people are enrolled in a particular school.”
He added that, “while we would like to think that it is all about education, we know from other research that is just not the case.”
Dr Jules Wessel, the University’s Associate Professor of Education and Literacy Studies, said it was not only the number that had changed.
“Literacy and numeracism are important for both the health and well-being of individuals and communities, but the most important driver of the increase is the rise of the workforce,” she said.
Professor Wessel said that “a large share of the decline in literacy is driven by the increase of high school graduates, who are a relatively young group in their careers, and who are much more likely to have higher education than their predecessors”.
She said that the rising rate of young people completing post-secondary education “shows the importance to the future of this cohort”.
“We see that the younger cohorts are going to have a bigger impact on the long-term sustainability of our economies.”
Professor Wess said the findings show that the “value of literacy” was not just in terms of how it helped us in the workplace, but it was also how it was seen in society.
“Our research shows that the growth in literacy in the 21-20 demographic group is very important for the sustainability of the economy and for our ability to have high levels of prosperity in the future,” she added.
The report found that the average number of hours a person spent in the workforce had also increased by 3 per cent between 2013 and 2015, and the average hours worked by those aged 16 to 24 has risen from 29 hours a week to 36 hours a day.
It also found that more people are now enrolled in post-graduate degrees.
Dr Hillebrand said that although “our analysis is focused on the United States, we found a similar trend across all the OECD countries”.
He said that he was “very happy” to see that Aikens “economic boom is starting to bear fruit” and said that this was “a very encouraging sign”.
Professor Wesson said the “economic benefits” of literacy “depend on how the workforce is organised, and whether it’s a small business or a large one”.
He added: “This is an exciting moment in our country’s history.
The future of Aiken lies in the long term, not just the short term.”
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This article was originally published on 7 June 2018.