W Cape literacy levels rise

2010-02-18 19:13

Cape Town - Literacy levels of primary school pupils in the Western Cape have risen steadily over the past six years, according to results of a study released on Thursday.

Education MEC Donald Grant said however that the results of numeracy tests were less encouraging.

He was talking about the latest in a series of biennial surveys of Grade 6 pupils, which have been conducted in the province since 2003.

The results showed the province was making "steady progress" in improving pupils' literacy skills, he said.

The number of pupils achieving a benchmark of 50% or more in the test had risen from 35% in 2003 to 48.6% conducted in November last year - an increase of 13.6%.

However in relation to numeracy there was "much room for improvement".

Though there had been a welcome 3.4% increase since the last test in 2007, the result of 17.4% or above the 50% mark was unacceptably low, Grant said.

"It is however encouraging to note that these results outperform our targets for improving performance levels in literacy and numeracy in 2010," he said.

To keep improving literacy and numeracy, the department would direct maximum human and financial resources to the first three years of school.

It appointed experts in literacy and numeracy last year to train teachers in these disciplines.

The department would now embark on a province-wide roadshow to brief principals on the results of the assessment pay and congratulatory visits to schools that had improved.

Schools that had not shown improvement would be offered support, and community meetings would be held to tell parents how they could help improve the literacy and numeracy skills of their children.