More women enrol in SA's mass literacy campaign

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pretoria - The Kha Ri Gude (Let us learn) mass literacy campaign has made huge strides since its inception last year, with nearly 80 percent of learners enrolled being women.

"The campaign has just about completed its first year. We have exceeded our targets in almost all provinces - especially in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape and Limpopo where illiteracy is most acute.

"Nearly 80 percent of learners enrolled on the programme are women," Education Minister Naledi Pandor said on Thursday.

The minister was speaking at the colloquium on the Ministerial Committee Report on the Restructuring of Adult Education and Training (AET) in South Africa.

She said progress made by the campaign illustrated that adults in South Africa are ready to learn.

The campaign, which was rolled out as a pilot in 2008, enrolled 360 000 learners countrywide.

Government has allocated R6.1 billion on the campaign over the next five years to enable 4.7 million South Africans achieve literacy by 2012.

The campaign has been instrumental in mobilising communities and has engaged structures such as traditional leaders, councillors, faith-based organisations, community organisations dealing with the disabled and the aged.

She said she was pleased with the support received from the youth who have been participating as facilitators in the campaign.

"Statistics show that 65 percent of the volunteer educators are below the age of 35 years," Minister Pandor said.

She said the campaign has lived up to the slogan in its name by ensuring that all provinces participate in the campaign.

It has integrated learning into the communities, she said, by using venues that are easily accessible for learners such as homes, markets, churches, old age homes, schools, prisons and wherever people are.

She said through the campaign volunteers from vulnerable communities are provided with jobs which contribute to the alleviation of poverty.

"As 92 percent of the volunteers are unemployed and live in the areas targeted for literacy, the stipend paid to volunteers for teaching contributes to lifting them out of poverty.

"I'm especially impressed with the ways in which communities have responded to the campaign and have set up committees in their own local communities to provide campaign oversight," she said.