Page last updated at 09:48 GMT, Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Investment in adult courses "needs more monitoring"

computer keyboard
The audit office wants more checks to ensure adult skills have improved

Not enough checks are being carried out to see if adult literacy, numeracy and IT skills are improved by taking courses, the NI Audit Office has said.

An international study in 1996 said that one in four NI adults had difficulty reading, writing and doing mathematics.

The government then invested £40m on courses to help them improve their skils.

But the Audit Office said up to date records on progress are not being kept.

The Department of Employment and Learning intends to spend another £30m over the next two years.

More than 34,000 adults have been helped to obtain at least one qualification.

The Audit Office said good progress has been made, but the department needed to encourage employers to help their workers take courses and make sure further education colleges can provide enough training in essential skills.

There are no plans for another study until 2013 and auditors said that more needed to be done to keep track of what progress that was being made.

While the Pisa study in 1996 showed that 24% had difficulty with literacy and numeracy, the overall UK figure was not markedly better at 22%.

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