Illiteracy and literacy

Illiteracy and literacy

According to the findings of the International Adult Literacy and Skills Survey (IALSS), 800,000 Quebecers aged 16–65, or one adult in six (16%), are on the lowest rung of the reading ability scale.



Some lines … to remind us


That we are illiterate
when we suffer from illiteracy
so we undertake literacy training
and maintain our skills through literacy.



In Quebec, this term generally describes adults’ total or partial inability to read or write in their mother tongue.

Illiteracy or levels of literacy: what is the difference?  

In short, the term “illiteracy” describes the inability to read, whereas “literacy” ranks the ability to read.


Literacy training is the acquisition of the knowledge and basic competencies that each individual needs in a rapidly evolving world. It is a fundamental human right and involves learning the written code (reading and writing) and basic arithmetic, and acquiring an elementary knowledge of computing.

Literacy training is a constantly changing concept which adapts to the realities of the societies in which illiterate individuals live.

Its prime purpose is to enable all individuals to fulfil their role as citizens, in all its dimensions: access to the labour force, accompaniment of children in their schooling, participation in democratic life, social commitment, and so on.

Literacy training can ultimately lead individuals to supplement their training in different fields.