As part of the Read to Lead Campaign, Deputy Minister of Basic Education, Mr Enver Surty, officially launched the Bokamoso Service Club for the elderly at the Mosaka II Reading Club in Taung the North West Province on 28 July 2016. This club consists of a starter pack, which includes story books and novels in Afrikaans, English and Setswana. The Ministerial Read to Lead Campaign is a four-year campaign, which aims at improving learner outcomes as anchored in the National Development Plan (NDP). The main objective of the Read to Lead Campaign is to ensure that all learners are able to demonstrate age appropriate levels of reading by 2019. The Campaign is a response to national, regional and international studies that have indicated that South African children are not able to read at expected levels, and are unable to execute tasks that demonstrate key skills associated with Literacy. The Campaign will provide teachers and schools with clear directives on the Department of Basic Education’s expectations to achieve the expected levels of performance.
The Department launched a nation-wide call for the refurbishment, as well as the establishment of libraries to cultivate a culture of reading in South Africa during Nelson Mandela International Day in 2015. A great number of libraries have been handed over to communities across the various provinces. This achievement is a result of a collaboration between the DBE and the private sector.
He lamented the lack of motivation by South Africans to read. “Sadly, South Africa does not have a culture of reading. Statistics indicate that only 14% of South Africans are readers of books and that only 5% of parents read to their children. To succeed as a country, we must promote reading in all age cohorts.” The Deputy Minister further encouraged all citizens to make reading a regular and established part of their daily routine. “We are indeed mindful that the task of educating the nation is a societal and collective effort. In this regard, literacy, thus better reading skills, has a positive impact on all aspects of living. There are many benefits to reading. Literacy, as an outcome of reading, impacts on society in several ways, namely, literate parents are more likely to send their children to school; literate people are better able to access continuing educational opportunities; and literate societies are better geared to meet pressing developmental agenda. Let us enjoy the written word, the migrating words. Let us be transported back to that land of the beginnings. Let us mingle with the unborn. Let’s us assume numerous forms as we devour in the dish of the written word,” concluded the Deputy Minister.