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49% Of Quebecers Cannot Read

Study shows nearly half of Quebec's population struggles with basic literacy.
49% Of Quebecers Cannot Read

A survey addressing the literacy levels of Quebec's residents reveals nearly half of the population struggle with basic reading. The Globe and Mail interviewed Professor Ralf St. Clair, professor of Education at McGill, to discuss the study and the implications of low literacy levels on the province's growth. French nor English was not fully identified, but given references to government documents, we can assume the study is in reference to French.

Before you get too worried about the state of our fair province, keep in mind that these numbers are most likely inflated, and most likely outdated. The study itself is over ten years old. Another aspect to keep in mind is how such citizens may be entirely comfortable with their reading level and experience no negative repercussions in their everyday life. Also, given the wide range of residential areas in Quebec, from urban epicenters to rural townships, there are a wide range of literacy levels in the province, with the much higher ones making the lower seem far worse.

Prof. St.Clair did point out some prevalent issues low literacy rates can have, regardless of the survey's accuracy. Multiple health issues can occur, as individuals lack the ability to decipher the medical information on forms, prescriptions, and descriptions of health problems. Employment can be affected as well, depending on the occupation of course. A low literacy cycle may occur as well, since parents may be unable to teach children how to read and write proficiently if they can't themselves.

Few solutions were proposed by St.Clair, but none of them definitive. A more active role by the government is needed, at least to allow individuals to fully understand government forms and documents. Either way, no substantive negative evidence was pointed out to be hindering Quebec, so no need to worry too much.

A new survey will be conducted on Oct. 8th, so check back for more information on the state of Quebec's literacy rates.

Does this study accuratley portray Quebec's population, or is there a distinct bias? Does it matter at all? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Watch the original video here.

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