What is PIAAC?

Research programme investigates basic skills of adultskuvitus4.jpg

Some 24 countries are involved in PIAAC, an international study initiated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD. The study will assess the various basic skills needed by the adult population in different walks of life, as well as their application to work and everyday living. Literacy, numeracy and problem-solving skills in technology-rich environments form the key focus areas of the study. At the same time, new information will be obtained on education amongst Finns, their activities as citizens and in working life, and the way in which these factors affect their social and economic well-being.

The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy are the national funders of the study. In addition, the Finnish National Board of Education will participate in programme steering. The study will be implemented through co-operation between the Finnish Institute for Educational Research, University of Jyväskylä and Statistics Finland.

The study will generate information promoting adult skills development

The study will generate valuable information on the skills and activities of the Finnish adult population for the use of educators, decision makers and researchers, for example. The results can be utilised in the preparation of various educational and employment-related policy measures, as well as in developing the skills and competencies of Finnish adults. Through these actions, the prerequisites for success can also be guaranteed in the future. Information collected in Finland will be compared to that obtained from other participating countries.

Interviewees chosen through random sampling

For the results of the study to be internationally commensurable, a sufficient number of interviews, i.e. involving 5,000 Finnish-speakers and 300 Swedish-speakers, must be conducted. Participants in the study will be chosen from the entire adult population of Finland, through random sampling. Interviewers from Statistics Finland will contact the selected interviewees and agree on the practicalities of the interviews. The face-toface interviews will be conducted in a tranquil environment, such as the interviewee’s home. Areas such as education, employment, and skills utilisation are covered in the first section of the interview. The second section includes tasks performed with computers or on paper, similar to the tasks adults encounter in their everyday lives.


The background questionnaire gathers data on e.g. the respondents’ education and work experience and also asks them to estimate the needs for and use of cognitive, physical, ICT-related, and social as well as interaction and learning skills.

On the basis of the collected data, the survey seeks answers to the following questions, for example:

  • Do the basic skills of the adult population meet the standards required for success at work and in daily life in today’s knowledge society?
  • How are these skills related to social and economic wellbeing?

How well does education succeed in providing these skills?