South Africa’s Deepening Literacy Crisis

1 min read
south africa literacy crisis

South Africa is facing a significant literacy crisis, with nearly 80% of Grade 4 students struggling to read for meaning despite the efforts of the Department of Basic Education’s National Reading Plan. In the town of Makhanda, where educational inequalities are prevalent, teachers are grappling with overcrowded classrooms and limited support in no-fee schools.

Teacher Shortages and Educational Inequalities

At Tantyi Primary, a township school in Makhanda, Mandisa Peter teaches both Grade 2 and Grade 3 learners due to teacher shortages. She expresses her frustration as learners advance to Grade 4 without proper reading comprehension skills. The school’s principal, Priscilla Glover, shares Peter’s concerns and calls for more teachers to provide better education.

The teacher-to-learner ratio in South Africa is worsening, particularly in non-fee-paying schools and poor provinces, leading to a deepening literacy crisis. The Reading Panel 2030, a civil society organization monitoring the government’s literacy goals, warns that the retirement of many teachers without adequate replacements will exacerbate the situation.

Challenges Faced by Educators and Learners

Good Shepherd Primary, located in Makhanda, faces similar challenges. Grade 2 teacher Hope Prince, who is passionate about teaching reading, emphasizes the importance of reading for meaning by Grade 4. However, she finds the workbooks provided by the Department of Basic Education unsuitable for learners who struggle to understand long sentences.

While some students, such as Lilitha Marangxa, a Grade 4 student at Good Shepherd, read at an above-average level due to their supportive families, retired teacher Angela Marangxa highlights the importance of a strong foundation in reading and the need for one-on-one support.

Government Initiatives and Criticisms

The Department of Basic Education has implemented initiatives like the Primary School Reading Improvement Programme (PSRIP) and the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) toolkits in response to the literacy crisis. However, critics argue that the budget allocation for these programs is insufficient and that existing budgets must be better utilized by provincial education departments and schools. The Department hasn’t commented on overcrowded classrooms and the lack of teachers.

The Importance of Finding Solutions

Despite the passion of teachers and efforts of the government, South Africa’s literacy crisis persists due to overcrowding, insufficient resources, and a lack of specialized support. Reading for meaning is crucial, and all stakeholders must work together to ensure that every child receives the education they deserve. Finding solutions to these challenges and providing necessary support for both teachers and learners is crucial for the future of South Africa’s children.

Environmentalist and Outdoor Enthusiast. Amanda is a nature-loving, energetic, and enthusiastic environmentalist who has dedicated her life to exploring and protecting Cape Town's stunning natural landscapes. She is an experienced hiker, wildlife enthusiast, and advocate for sustainable tourism.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Previous Story

Equitable Water Supply and Dignified Sanitation: A Priority for South Africa’s Government

Next Story

Discover the Unique and Enchanting World of Liberty Books in Grabouw

Latest from Blog

Overcoming Electricity Challenges during Cold Fronts and Load-Shedding

As a cold front sweeps through the region, there has been a surge in electricityrelated service requests. The residents are advised to prepare for the cold, damp, and blustery conditions that are expected to persist over the weekend. The inclement weather can further worsen power service issues, leading to a rise in demand for assistance.

Western Cape’s Tourism Industry: Beyond Recovery and Towards Growth

Cape Town International Airport (CTIA) achieved a significant milestone in April 2023 as the airport’s share of overseas tourists reached full recovery compared to its prepandemic levels in April 2019. During the month, CTIA recorded a total of 67,747 tourist arrivals via air, with 87% coming from overseas markets and the remaining 13% from the African continent, according to the monthly tourism report from Wesgro, the Western Cape Government’s trade, investment, and tourism promotion agency.

Western Cape Embraces Renewable Energy Tax Incentives

The Western Cape province in South Africa is committed to a sustainable future, and it is making significant strides towards achieving this goal. One of the ways the province is supporting the use of renewable energy sources is through tax incentives, as highlighted by the Director of Personal Income Tax at the National Treasury, Marle Van Niekerk, during Premier Alan Winde’s 13th Energy Digicon.

Cape Town Mayor Hill-Lewis Receives Clean Audit Award for 2021-22

On June 2nd, Cape Town Mayor Geordin HillLewis was honored during a ceremony held in Saldanha for receiving the city’s clean audit award for the 202122 financial year from the Auditor General (AG). This award recognizes the city’s unwavering commitment to transparency, integrity, and excellence in governance. It also demonstrates Cape Town’s focus on improving the lives of its citizens by ensuring public funds are used efficiently and effectively.

Cape Town’s Citizens Name New Anti-Litter Mascot

Mayor Geordin HillLewis of Cape Town has recently ignited enthusiasm among the city’s residents by involving them in the naming of the new antilitter mascot. After receiving hundreds of creative suggestions, a shortlist of five names was prepared by the city officials.