Making a difference - 26TEN Tasmania Strategy

​Investment in adult literacy and numeracy creates significant value for Tasmania

The socio-economic value created by the 26TEN Tasmania Strategy in 2018-19, was at least $27.2 million, based on an investment of $5.3 million, according to a recent study.  

The study, the Socio-Economic Impact of Tasmania’s Investment in Adult Literacy and Numeracy, was led by Paul Muller, Executive Director, Institute of Project Management and commissioned by 26TEN. Mr Muller said that study used a model of cost-benefit analysis to quantify the social, economic and cultural contribution that the 26TEN Tasmania Strategy makes to program participants, businesses and the broader community. By quantifying 26TEN’s contribution in this way, we are providing robust social and economic information and advice to help stakeholders make strategic decisions about allocating resources,” he said. "This is the preferred approach by governments to evaluating policy choices. 

It’s important that all Tasmanians, not just policy makers, can be confident that building literacy and numeracy skills in adults across the state, not only benefits those adults, but also their families, and our communities and workplaces. 

The return represents the sum of productivity benefits, enjoyed by employers (worth $22.3 million) and civic benefits, enjoyed by individuals, (worth $4.9 million). It means that the return on investment to the community from the 26TEN Tasmania Strategy in 2018-19 was at least $5.20 for every dollar spent,” he said. "To put it in economic terms, we have illustrated how investment in adult literacy improves individual and community states of physical, human, social and symbolic capital. This is then converted by users into a set of economically valuable outputs that impact upon the welfare of society.” 

Sue Costello, Manager, 26TEN said that the study was invaluable for the ongoing work of improving literacy in our state. “The work that needs to be done to lift adult literacy in Tasmania relies on the commitment of all levels of government, businesses, community organisations, volunteers, and the adult learners themselves. 

"Now we can show the 26TEN Network that their commitment is making a significant difference, and that’s fantastic,” she said

“We are proud to have commissioned the study, which is the first of its kind in Australia and one of the first world-wide. It shows that while the money we get is vital, we can’t do without the organisations and people who contribute their time and effort. 

This is the philosophy that 26TEN is built on – we have to work together to make a difference. 

More key findings 

With a combined investment of at least $5.3 million in 2018-19, a return of $27.2 million means that for every dollar invested by government, industry, community groups and individuals in the 26TEN Strategy, at least $5.20 in benefits was returned to the Tasmanian community in 2018-19. 

This also represents a return of at least 6.6:1 on the original investment of the State Government ($4.1 million in 2018-19). 

The study further found that the financial investment by the Government motivated at least another $1.1 million in community contributions and $1.3 million in savings (through donations of volunteers’ time) to deliver on the Strategy. 

In examining in detail the specific impact of the 26TEN grants programs and the activity of Libraries Tasmania as a 26TEN member providing literacy support, the research found that: 

  • In 2018-19, 860 adult Tasmanians were directly supported by 26TEN grants and the Libraries Tasmania literacy service to improve their literacy. 
  • Over 80 per cent of Libraries Tasmania literacy clients surveyed said that their opportunities for employment and further education had improved as their level of literacy improved.
  • Over 90 per cent of Libraries Tasmania literacy clients indicated that their quality of life has improved as a result of improved functional literacy.
  • Libraries Tasmania literacy clients completed an average of 50 literacy sessions. The majority were reluctant to put an end date on their participation, and many observed that each goal they achieved led to new aspirational targets.