Provide effective and sustained support to children as they learn to read and write
Provide effective and sustained support to children as they learn to read and write

SA needs a collaborative efforts in solving its illiteracy crisis

By Tamara Mafilika Time of article published Sep 29, 2021

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During 2019 the South African adult illiteracy rate was 12%, reflecting a significant improvement of 7.1 percentage points over the past decade.

Despite this improvement, StatsSA reported the official unemployment rate for South Africa sits at 34.4%. That is 7.8 million jobless people. This report by StatsSA also shows that the number of discouraged work-seekers is now 186 000. StatsSA notes that the unemployment rate among youth is the highest it has ever been, and against the backdrop of increasing poverty levels.

According to the Human Development Index (HDI) by the UN, 18.9% of South Africans (11 million people) live on less than R28 per day. Of these 11 million people, 4 million live in multidimensional poverty. Multidimensional poverty means that not only do they have little money, but they also have bad health, poor access to good healthcare or no healthcare access at all, no access to clean water, no housing opportunities and possibly suffer from malnutrition.

The United Nations Children's Fund also notes that over the past year and a bit, well over half a million children have dropped out of school across the country. Those who are still at school have had to adapt to a totally new learning environment with no transition period.

Albeit a grim picture currently, there are organisations working hard to turn this picture around. By providing improved education for young people, thus tackling the issue at its root, the nation can begin to close the gap on these societal issues.

The ongoing work done by South Africa’s largest community loyalty programme, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet, is one such example where they are working tirelessly with like-minded reputable organisations to improve SA’s literacy rate. They have collaborated with Builders to provide learners with new classrooms to facilitate learning. The latest project is three Grade RR classrooms for non-profit school, Christel House, worth more than R1.7 million.

“Education and literacy are imperative to our success as a country, and when facing facts such as 12% of adult South Africans not being able to read and write, we have to assess our role in changing this. Partnering with organisations such as Shine Literacy, who make tangible differences in the lives of less fortunate children is our core focus,” says Lauren Gillis, founder and CEO of Relate.

Readucate is another non-profit education and literacy organisation that strives to fight illiteracy on all levels.

Founder of the Readucate Trust, Edna Freikel, has dedicated her life to training teachers, parents and grandparents who wish to help their children improve their literacy skills.

“We need to equip young children and the youth with the important skills and tools needed to thrive in life. They are our future and we need to ensure that they have the strongest foundation possible to ensure a bright future for South Africa,” concludes Pieter Twine, general manager of MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet.

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