Adult literacy and closing the gap will be the focus of a UNE public lecture honouring the memory of UNE's Neville Crew OAM, a lecturer passionate about adult education and community development.
Professor Jack Beetson, executive director of the Literacy for Life Foundation, will deliver the inaugural Neville Crew Memorial Public Lecture on Wednesday.
Professor Beetson, a Ngemba man from western NSW, is an internationally respected expert and advocate in adult education and training, Indigenous and human rights education and sustainable community development.
His Foundation has helped change thousands of lives through an adult literacy campaign in Aboriginal communities across northwest NSW.
His lecture, "Adult literacy: The missing link to closing the gap", will highlight the process, results and some statistics from the Literacy for Life campaign, and speak about a range of aspects - including some unintended consequences - of the broader Closing the Gap campaign.
"You can't do much in life other than just survive if you can't read and write," Professor Beetson said. "It's hard to aspire to anything but that. Without literacy first, the idea of closing the gap is just ridiculous.
"If you can't read or write, you can't even identify there is a gap and something that needs to be changed."
The inaugural Neville Crew Memorial Public Lecture on adult literacy in Aboriginal communities will be held at the Oorala Lecture Theatre, UNE, Wednesday, December 4, from 1 to 2pm.