Nation left lost for words

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The Independent Online
Paris - Forty per cent of French adults lack basic literacy skills, but France cut the embarrassing fact out of an international survey released this week, AP reports.

Results of the survey by the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co- operation and Development compared adult literacy among seven nations, but France abruptly pulled out of the survey and had officials excise all references to France from the document, according to Albert Tuijnman, a survey organiser at the Education and Training Division of the OECD. The study, conducted last year, indicated that in Sweden, about 7.5 per cent of 16- to 65-year-olds were deficient in literacy skills.

The study did not rank the countries, but Mr Tuijnman made his own ranking: Sweden, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, the United States and Poland. Had the figures for the French been mentioned, they would have been second to last, he said.