School literacy levels 'a catastrophe'

2013-10-22 11:04

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Durban - The head of the National Education Evaluation and Development Unit (Needu) at the Department of Education, Dr Nick Taylor, has called for reading to become a national priority.

An average Grade 2 pupil should read about 60 to 70 words per minute, but that is not the case for pupils at most schools.

As the pupils progress to Grade 5, studies show that some fall even further behind.

Taylor was speaking at the National Professional Teachers’ Organisation of South Africa breakfast in Durban on Monday.

'Deeply disturbing'

“The really disturbing thing about this is the number of learners who cannot read a single word.

“About 13% could read not a single word of that little test that we gave them in English. Now that is really, deeply disturbing,” he added.

He said few Grade 5s are reading at 80 to 90 words per minute.

“As far as I’m concerned, this is a national catastrophe,” he added.

Early this year, Needu released a damning report that revealed that the country’s failing education system was embedded in teachers who can’t teach and largely did not have a grasp of the curriculum, which is the fundamental problem.

Their research was based on 133 schools they visited in the country.

“If the children are not learning to read by Grade 5, then what are teachers doing and what are the school management teams in those schools doing about assessing where the children are?

“How can they allow the children to be far behind after five years? Are they not watching them?”

The report states that too much time was spent on group and shared reading instead of individual reading and pupils also battle to answer comprehension tests.

Not enough books

He said they found in the majority of foundational classes that there were two or three available books to read over the whole year, and said children at this level should read a book or two a week at least. “No wonder they can’t learn to read. There are not enough books. That’s a major problem.”

He said school leaders should monitor pupils and pleaded with teacher unions to address the issue.

Taylor said the role of parents was also key in assisting children to read. However, he said the school was primarily responsible to see that pupils can read independently by Grade 2.

Naptosa president Basil Manuel said children should be encouraged to read anything, including food packaging such as cereal boxes, to improve their grasp of language.

 

 

Read more on:    education department  |  education

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
123 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.