MEC of education in NC said that libraries are a key player in literacy factors

The South African Human Rights commission says that resource poverty at no-fee schools is deemed to be a primary reason for the dilemma of 81% of South African Grade 4 learners who cannot read for meaning in any language, as per the 2021 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).  The commission further states that the ability to read for meaning is the foundation upon which nearly all academic abilities are constructed, including mathematics. Wisane Baloyi, for the commission says that if students are not able to read for meaning by the age of 10 (Grade 4), they will experience ongoing academic challenges, despite advancing to higher grade levels. Baloyi argues that the reason why most learners struggle to comprehend what they read not only reflects a system that lacks the essential resources to enable children to develop this crucial skill but also violates their fundamental right to receive a basic education. However, the MEC responsible for education in the Northern Cape, Zolile Monakali, highlighted during the 2023 Reading Indaba, held in Kimberly that the department is of the view that libraries are a key player as it has a role in all literacy factors - from access to materials and training to promotion and cooperation. The role of libraries in the view of the departmet is to offer learners more than just prescribed books, but reading material that will expand their horizon beyond the confines of their schools and communities.

Journalist: Rene Julies

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