Strategy to address low literacy, numeracy rates

Friday, November 18, 2011
Gabi Khumalo

Pretoria - The Council of Education has approved an Integrated National Literacy and Numeracy Strategy as part of the Basic Education Department's response to the need for urgency in addressing the low achievement levels of learners in literacy and numeracy.

"The low performance levels of our learners were confirmed through the Annual National Assessment (ANA), as well as the regional and international benchmark assessments. The council emphasised that the strategy is to address the poor performance in literacy and numeracy must be a national one that integrates all the provincial initiatives in this area," the Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said on Friday.

She explained that the strategy will target classrooms and teachers as key levers for change in learner performance. It will be guided by the department's 2012 priority of consolidating the work around the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), ANAs and the workbooks.

"Provinces, districts and school communities must focus all their energies on improving reading, comprehension, writing and counting," Motshekga, who had earlier met with the Council of Education.

The procurement of school workbooks, where some schools bought a set of three different literacy books and language use, were among the teething problems identified by the department during the 2011 ANAs, and Motshekga said all provinces have committed to the further institutionalization of ANA in 2012.

She said that the ANAs has helped the department to diagnosed and go deeper to know where the problem was occurring, locate which schools were not performing and the reasons for non-performance, stressing the need for integrated approach for turn around.

"With the strategy, we are refocusing in a more comprehensive way, we are focusing on principals and study system. The approach informed us on what the provinces are doing and learn what works in each province, work on information, teacher training and distribution of work books with good quality, as well as mobilising parents to participate..." said Motshekga.

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