It is a startling statistic - almost one in two Tasmanians of working age are functionally illiterate and more than half are functionally innumerate.
This represents a significant amount of the state's population that cannot get by without struggling to complete tasks that many take for granted, like correctly filling out forms or following simple instructions.
The foundation of Tasmania's adult literacy problems is in its historically low level of educational attainment which has caused intergenerational problems with literacy and numeracy.
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Tasmanian Council for Adult Literacy president Lucy Whitehead said this cycle was difficult to break, particularly in certain areas in the state where children left school early to gain employment in traditional industries.
She said it was important improvements in literacy and numeracy was not just about job opportunities for people.
"Tasmania is quite good at encouraging community literacy for people who might be out of the workforce who have never learnt to read or write or have low reading skills," she said.
"It should be about skills for life, not about skills for just getting work.
"The skills that a person needs at work have changed a lot in the past 20 years.
"But the skills that we need for life have also changed a lot in the past 10 years."
Literacy is more than just being able to read words - it is the ability to understand, interpret, create and communicate written material in different contexts.
Ms Whitehead said reading had become a lot more prevalent in everyday life than it was before.
"The amount of reading people need to do and the amount of digital literacy skills that people are expected to have now is hugely different to what was required in the past," she said.
Ms Whitehead said many Tasmanians who were effectively illiterate had built ways into their lifestyle to compensate for their problems.
This could involve having friends and family members complete forms for them or read correspondence, rather than encourage them to seek out help.
Ms Whitehead said people with literacy and numeracy problems could find assistance at state libraries and a large number of community centres which had volunteer tutors.
Some areas of the state struggle to have an adequate number of trained volunteers, however.
"Because we're dealing with adult literacy and adult learning, it's very specific," Ms Whitehead said.
"Somebody might have excellent oral communication, excellent maths skills, but not be able to spell very well or might not be able to read to their children."
TasTAFE last year launched a free online literacy tutors' course which had 50 Tasmanians enlisted with it by May.
Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff at the time said more than 1000 tutors, who were part of Libraries Tasmania's volunteer literacy service, had been trained under the previous TasTAFE course.
The new course was later offered for free to all Tasmanian adults.
The Adult Learning Strategy 2020 was also launched last year, propped up by $4.3 million in government funding.
About $3 million of this funding will be used to expand the 26TEN network into seven more Tasmanian communities over the next three years.
The network started in 2015 and has been praised for promoting awareness of illiteracy problems, reducing stigma around it, and encouraging people to get help.
An independent review of the program found 90 per cent of surveyed adult learners reported accessing literacy and numeracy support had improved their opportunities for employment and education.
The same number of adult learned reported their home life had improved and they were more active within their communities.
A five-year review of 26TEN found 2484 people had taken part in 167 literacy awareness workshops.
The program has a goal to lift the percentage of Tasmanian adults with literacy skills at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development level three from 49.8 per cent to 60 per cent by 2025.
It wants to see the percentage of Tasmanians with numeracy skills at OECD level three rise from 40.4 per cent to 50 per cent by 2025.
A House of Representatives committee has launched an inquiry into adult literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills.
The committee will look at the relationship with skill levels and socio-demographic characteristics, particularly in relation to migrant status, First Nations status, and individuals living in households that had experienced intergenerational unemployment.
It will examine the effect literacy and numeracy skills have on labour force participation and a person's wage as well as the links between literacy and social outcomes such as health, poverty, and the ability to care for family members.
The committee will look at the relationship between a parent's literacy skills and their children's literacy skill development from birth to post-secondary school education.
A newly formed coalition of notable Tasmanians, named the Tasmanian 100 per cent Literacy Alliance, last week released its report: A road map to a Literate Tasmania.
The coalition includes workforce demographer Lisa Denny, economist Saul Eslake, speech pathology and language experts, and community sector heads.
In its report, it said improving Tasmania's poor literacy skills and subsequent educational outcomes was important for the economy and wider society.
"This pathway to illiteracy in adulthood begins from the moment a child is born and throughout their stages of development, culminating in their inability to engage in all those activities in which literacy is required for effective function of his or her group and community," it said.
The coalition said a more literate Tasmania would be an essential foundation for the long-term economic and social renewal of the state from the coronavirus pandemic.
"High, population-wide literacy has the potential to break down intergenerational and regional disadvantage and build social cohesion and resilience," it said.
"Improving Tasmania's poor literacy skills and subsequent educational outcomes is important for the economy and wider society - and to make rapid positive impact, it is also urgent.
"The swift, decisive and dynamic policy responses to the COVID-19 global pandemic in Tasmania have demonstrated what is possible in urgent situations."
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