Last night's Channel 4 documentary on adult illiteracy was shaming. More than 5 million adults in the UK cannot neither read or write, victims of an education system which has clearly been filing a sizeable minority of those who pass through it for decades.
While it was exceptionally moving to see remarkable teacher Phil Beadle make real progress with the adult students who enrolled on his course, the damning discovery that the materials on offer from the government to help with adult literacy were woefully inadequate, gave even greater cause for despair.
An educated population is the cornerstone of a civilised society, and literacy is the foundation of education. On the basis of last night's first episode of Can't Read, Can't Write, we have no right to call our society civilised.