VW literacy project to combat learners’ reading crisis

2017-11-23 06:00
;Honorouble Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga with Executive Mayor Athol Trollip and VWSA Director of Corporate and Government Affairs Nonkqubela Maliza at the 3rd Annual VWSA Literacy Conference held in Uitenhage.           Photo:QUICKPIC

;Honorouble Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga with Executive Mayor Athol Trollip and VWSA Director of Corporate and Government Affairs Nonkqubela Maliza at the 3rd Annual VWSA Literacy Conference held in Uitenhage. Photo:QUICKPIC

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The annual VW Legacy Literacy Conference has the vision to ensure all learners in Uitenhage are functionally literate by the end of Grade 3.

Three years ago the Volkswagen Community Trust launched an ambitious initiative that was aimed at promoting meaningful literacy in the first 10 years of a child’s life. Today, three years later the results show that Volkswagen Group South Africa through the Volkswagen Community Trust is making headway.

The theme for this year’s conference which was held last week, was “Reading4Meaning” The Building Blocks. The two main aims of this year’s Conference was to look at the results of the survey conducted with Rhodes University and also to highlight the impact of the interventions which the Community Trust has implemented in the local Uitenhage schools.

The two-day conference was attended by 200 children from 8 local primary schools and 100 parents attended various workshops and programmes. The Legacy Literacy Programme does not focus only on helping and educating children but also on making sure teachers and parents have the tools and the training at their disposal to educate and assist their children.

This holistic approach was heralded as a “success” by Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, who once again attended as a keynote speaker.

“We know we have a crisis - our children can’t read. So on behalf of the Department I am very pleased to give our sincere thanks to VW for taking action and making a difference in the Uitenhage community,” said Minister Motshekga.

“The partnerships being cultivated and the lessons being learnt in this Metro can be used in the education sector and are highly commendable,” said Minister Motshekga.

Executive Mayor Athol Trollip also endorsed the work being done by Volkswagen and said, “Having the Minister of Basic Education here today is the greatest endorsement for this programme. Education is so critical and we thank Volkswagen for going beyond normal CSI compliance.”

Since the launch of the literacy programme the Volkswagen Community Trust together with its partners have developed and implemented a comprehensive literacy programme in five Primary Schools in Uitenhage. This has effectively changed the lives of over 1300 learners and 30 teachers but the actual impact on the community is far bigger than this number. Teaching children so that they are functionally literate, means that they can read to younger siblings, parents, grandparents who may not be able to read, which can open up a world of opportunity to the whole family.

“We will continue to raise awareness of the importance of functional literacy in the foundation phase of learning. The only way we can succeed is if corporates, government, educational institutions and NGOs work together. The results achieved in the last three years are really encouraging but we have to keep going. If we can continue to have functionally literate and confident Grade 3s that can read for meaning, move into Grade 4, we have done our job!” said Thomas Schaefer Chairman and Managing Director of Volkswagen Group South Africa.

VWSA has invested more than R100 million on CSI projects during the Trust’s existence.There has been a strong emphasis on education, youth development, enterprise development, health, community and well being. In addition, environmental initiatives and employee volunteerism have also been focused upon.

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