ANC notes findings of PIRLS 2016 report
7 December 2017
The ANC Study Group on Basic Education notes and welcomes the findings of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2016 report. The report reflects very low levels of reading skills of our Grade 4 learners.
This comes as a reality check and emphasizes the need to revaluate the way learners are taught in and out of the classroom. It also emphasizes the need to enhance the quality of teachers who teach our learners. We urge the Minister and the Deputy Minister of Basic Education to look into more enhanced ways in appointing qualified teachers and the way in which they teach the curriculum.
We do however also need to acknowledge the daily social challenges teachers are faced with in our schools. Teachers have to deal with child headed households, high levels of poverty that in turn lead to violence as well as drug and alcohol abuse in these communities. They also face girl learners who become mothers at very early stages of their lives.
It is therefore important that society as a whole plays a role in changing these statistics and thus changing the future of our learners. We cannot put the development of a learner in isolation. We emphasise the role of government, civil society, public sector as well as the parents of learners on our road to eradicating illiteracy in our communities as a whole.
We acknowledge the establishment and implementation of programmes such as the National Reading Strategy and Foundation for Learning Campaign. These programmes need to be revolutionized in order to tackle challenges we now face. This should also include best practices from countries who fit our demographics and fall close to the unique challenges we face as a country. We are also proud of the implementation of the Early Grade Reading Study (EGRS), which aims to address issues of literacy and is bearing very positive fruits.
We must take full responsibility of the current state of our education system and implement better ways of teaching and ensuring that learners read comprehensively from the foundation phase. It is at this stage that we are to build a solid foundation for learners.
The ANC congratulates all learners who successfully completed the academic year and encourage those who had unsuccessful outcomes to not despair. We also thank our teachers and stakeholders for their dedication throughout this academic year.
Issued Nonceba Mhlauli, Spokesperson, Parliament, 7 December 2017