Reading ­addresses deficit

2016-09-28 06:00
READING coaches and representatives from the Department of Education recently visited the Droogfontein Solar Power. The group was headed by Basie Mathane, director: General Education and Training (Get) curriculum, Department of Education, Northern Cape.

READING coaches and representatives from the Department of Education recently visited the Droogfontein Solar Power. The group was headed by Basie Mathane, director: General Education and Training (Get) curriculum, Department of Education, Northern Cape.

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A LARGE number of South African learners with learning deficits have already shown signs of this during the lower grades.

This usually results in under-performance in later years.

The failure of learners to master elementary numeracy and literacy skills during the foundation and intermediate phases preclude them from learning and engaging fully with the grade-appropriate curriculum.

This was highlighted in a statement from Droogfontein Solar Power upon the announcement of their partnership with the Northern Cape Department of Education to tackle learning challenges.

According to the solar power company, a Reading Coach Programme, funded by them, has proved to be a much needed intervention to generate a love for reading amongst primary school learners.

The Reading Coach Programme seeks to intervene in the low levels of reading skills by assisting out-of-school youth in selected foundation and intermediate schools.

The Department of Education pledged its continued commitment to the partnership to improve the reading abilities of learners and enhance their opportunities to have a better chance of succeeding in life.

According to Tina Meier from Droogfontein, the programme has already been successfully implemented in all the primary schools in Riverton, Ritchie and Barkly West for the last two years.

The project is funded over a three year period.

Each school gets book grants, and performance is measured by the improvement in the Annual National Tests (Ana) written by the learners.

The primary focus is to improve the literacy and numeracy levels of gr. 1 to gr. 3 learners by providing scheduled reading sessions in vernacular (isiXhosa and Afrikaans).

She explained that the programme incorporates elements like employment opportunities, training and resources.

“In addition to this, schools receive donations of books,” Meier pointed out.

Basie Mathane, director: General Education and Training (Get) curriculum at the Department of Education, said that learners only have a rudimentary grasp of the principles of reading and writing at the end of the foundation phase, which makes it very difficult for them to overcome obstacles in later years, particularly in mathematics and science.

“We are encouraged by the role that Droogfontein Solar Power continues to play in working with the department to provide quality education to the most needy.

“The influence and impact of this partnership can only lay a strong foundation for improved learner outcomes in the participa-ting schools,” added Mathane.

Through the programme ten unemployed matriculants have been provided with jobs and now receive a monthly stipend.

They will also get work experience, which should hopefully improve their chances of getting jobs in the future or to go to tertiary institutions.

These coaches run reading sessions with groups of up to 15 children at a time, although most of these groups are smaller so that each child gets individual attention.

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