A “foundation for learning” strategy to be gazetted
30 November 2007
The Minister of Education Naledi Pandor announced today that she would be gazetting a three-year “foundation for learning” strategy in terms of the National Education Policy Act that will involve the annual testing of all children from grade 3.
Minister Pandor was responding to the release of the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2006 study that revealed that South African learners cannot read at appropriate levels in grades 4 and 5.
“Poor performance in PIRLS indicates a need to intensify and review our efforts at ensuring a proper foundation for learning”, she said.
In January 2008 reading toolkits will be distributed to primary schools. The toolkits will contain all the resources teachers need to teach reading in Grades R and 1, including an Early Grade Reading Assessment tool (EGRA) to assist teachers monitor the reading progress of their learners. Teachers will also receive intensive training and the expert advice of curriculum advisers.
In 2011 there will be a national assessment of the impact made by the three-year programme.
Two provinces have taken the lead in implementing literacy and numeracy strategies.
In the Western Cape all schools take part in provincial tests and for the first time this year have been set targets for end-of-year achievement.
In Gauteng a new seven-year literacy strategy was launched this year. It is a joint venture between the provincial department, the literacy non-governmental agency, READ, which provides the teacher training, classroom resources and consultant resources, and the Joint Education Trust which provides external evaluation.
Both provincial initiatives are already beginning to show signs of significant improvement in learning attainment.
The Minister of Education said:
“Improving learning has received our focused attention at every level of the education system. But not all provinces have focussed strategies to teach reading and numeracy in the early grades. It is time to declare war on the failure of foundational learning in our schools.”
Issued by the Ministry of Education
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