Zwelakhe Secondary School emerged as the overall winner of the literacy drive during the Ntabankulu English Literacy Festival held at Mount Frere in the Eastern Cape Province on 08 September 2016. The event was co-hosted by the DBE, the Eastern Cape Provincial Education Department and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) to mark the 50th year Anniversary of International Literacy Day. UNESCO proclaimed 08 September as International Literacy Day on 17 November 1965, to highlight the importance of literacy for individuals, communities and societies across the globe.
Twelve schools from Mount Frere participated in this literacy drive to showcase their literacy skills in various categories, ranging from poetry, drama, debating, storytelling, reading comprehension, panel discussions, prepared speech and unprepared reading. The top three winning schools from each category were presented with trophies as a symbol of recognition for their excellent literacy skills displayed.
Ms Zine Mtimde, a Grade 12 learner from the Zwelakhe Senior Secondary School, applauded Government for bringing learners together to promote literacy. “It was very exciting to see how talented my fellow learners were during this occasion; I enjoyed every moment,” said the learner. Ms Mtimde reminded other learners to put more effort into advancing their literacy skills through comprehensive reading. “We would need to read more books if we want to become true ambassadors of literacy in this country,” remarked Mtimde.
The Mount Frere District English Subject Advisor for Further Education and Training, Mr Andile Tantsi said, “The promotion of literacy and a culture of reading should be our daily task as members of society to build a leading nation. I encourage learners to form reading clubs, debate sessions and reading corners to keep the culture of reading alive in our communities”.
UNESCO’s representative from the DBE, Ms Lefika Chetty, mentioned that the number of young adults without literacy skills decreased by 25 percent between 1990 and 2015. “A lot of work still needs to be done to ensure that we achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals; setting forth a new global vision of prosperity, sustainability and peace in all 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including the goal of ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and the promotion of lifelong learning opportunities for all.” Ms Chetty further acknowledged all teachers for their continued support in encouraging learners to read. “These learners are amazingly gifted; they just need to be supported to become avid readers,” added Ms Chetty.
The DBE representative from the Curriculum Implementation and Quality Improvement GET Directorate, Ms Sisa Mhlanga, who was also an adjudicator for the awards, said that “This initiative plays a critical role in promoting reading for pleasure and it will go a long way in advancing learner outcomes.”