Yes, there’s a broader sense to literacy than merely reading. Nonetheless, reading will always be an index for measuring illiteracy. And based on that, there are too many illiterates in South Africa. For According to the Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, only 14% of South Africans do read books.
Speaking at a Read to Lead intervention at Masiphumelele Primary School in Khayelitsha, the Minister related that out of the 14%, only 5% of parents read to their children.
Motshekga indicated that the statistics points to the fact that the country is educationally challenged. As she cautioned parents to take cognizance of the fact that the battle against illiteracy starts in early childhood development.
The Read to Lead campaign was launched last year by the Western Cape Education Department in partnership with early learning firm, Grow Learning Company. The campaign as planned, will run nationwide until 2019 in line with the government’s intent to engender reading habit in pupils and to improve children’s ability to read. As such, it’s hoped that the nearest generation of South Africans wouldn’t have many illiterates.
Motshekga praised the Read to Lead initiative. But however, related that more needs to be done. She said:
“We continue to have a problem of under-qualified teachers with poor conditions of employment. This is a major problem in this sector.”
BuzzSouthAfrica learnt that Annerie Dresselhaus, the founder and CEO of the Grow Leaning Company, was inspired to established the outlet following the challenges she encountered in raising four of her children with learning difficulties. Reporting this, News24 related that her oldest son had a rare genetic disorder and did not speak until he was older than five. And that her youngest had meningitis and severe sepsis.
Commenting, Dresselhaus said: “…I was fortunate. I was the daughter of a teacher and, like my mom, I was a problem solver. I also spent loads of time in her classroom growing up, so education and learning has been a big part of my life from the get go.”
She reportedly started the learning company in 2007 to produce early childhood learning materials in a Cape Town factory. And her products as gathered, will be distributed to 150 schools in the province.