SA learners place last in international literacy rates

Written by on December 6, 2017

The release of the 2016 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) results on Tuesday revealed that South African learners have the poorest literacy rates.

The study, which measured international literacy rates between 2011 and 2016, revealed extremely poor performance by Grade 4 learners.

According to SA News, Grade 4 is considered most important because from this grade onward, learners use literacy skills to learn in other subjects.

According to Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, in order to improve the literacy levels in South Africa, the work in the Foundation Phase must be improved.

Motskehkga has said: “The 2016 PIRLS results, are lower than what we had expected. The score of the Grade 4 learners is significantly below the PIRLS centre point of 500; while 78% of the Grade 4 learners, were unable to reach the lowest benchmark.”

The Department of Basic Education (DBE) maintains that it has several strategies to resolve the situation.

This includes:
– The introduction of African Languages in early Grades
– Introducing English First Additional Language in the Foundation Phase
– Promoting initiatives on English across the curriculum
– Increasing access and quality for the girl child

The department also plans to pay special attention to those learners who have the potential to improve their scores in the study to better the results of the next PIRLS cycle


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