The Vagaries of Island Literacy & Math Skills

Today a bunch of VIPs were handing out special literacy editions of the provincial paper.  In a front-page “Literacy: The Challenge” fact box, it states that “43 per cent, or 40,000 Islanders have reading skills so limited that they cannot deal with most printed materials such as newspapers or telephone books (source: Provincial Literacy Secretariat)”.
That has me wondering what percentage of Islanders have limited math skills too.  Because by my calculations (admittedly arrived at by using a calculator) 43 per cent of the population of Islanders (which, I believe, is around 137,000) equals almost 59,000.  That’s quite a difference in figures, Secretariat.  Perhaps you mean “43 per cent, or 40,000 Islanders who are of an age where they should have competent reading skills etc.”?

Another fact from the same fact box:  “Recent international tests place 15-year-olds in P.E.I. lower than other provinces in reading and writing.”  What kind of vague  information is this?  How much lower, and lower than how many other provinces?  By this statistic we could be third highest, since “other provinces” signifies at least two provinces rank higher.

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