WCED: Making Education Better Together
Media Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Education
In January, the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) released its annual literacy and numeracy test results for Grade 3, 6 and 9.
The results indicate that the Western Cape still has a long way to go before our learners are numerate and literate at the appropriate level for their grade.
Literacy and numeracy are the most important skills our children will develop in their school career.
If we are to achieve our objectives of improving learner outcomes and the quality of education in the province, it is imperative that we develop and deepen the reading, writing and calculating abilities of all our learners.
The department does have a comprehensive strategy in place to improve these skills, which includes an increase in educator training courses, building "text-rich" schools and the monitoring of classroom practice.
But with any intervention in literacy and numeracy, the support of parents is crucial.
To get this message out, the department initiated a campaign in January which aims to encourage parents of primary school children to take an active interest in developing the literacy and numeracy skills of their children at home.
The campaign's main message is "Let's make education Better Together. Help your child to read, write and practise maths every day".
The campaign has targeted the whole of the Western Cape, with a focus on selected areas needing special attention, and is being communicated through a variety of different communication channels. These include billboard, mall and bus stop displays, advertising in taxis, train stations, on trains and radio, the web, and on leaflets and through the print media.
We have already distributed around 100 000 Grade 1 Parents' Guides to our new Grade 1 parents, which describes what children have to learn in languages and maths in Grade 1 and tips for parents on what they can do at home to develop their children's literacy and numeracy skills.
The WCED is broadcasting tips for parents on ten radio and railway stations via 760 advertising spots and we have on display our core message on billboards, bus stops, shopping malls and at petrol station forecourts in and around Cape Town.
We have inserted the core message on visor advertisements in 100 taxis travelling routes along the West Coast, Worcester and the Southern Cape. Posters will carrying the message in 95 train coaches (two per coach) travelling throughout the peninsula.
The WCED is also displaying messages on trailers driving around the peninsula.
Today, I visited Gugulethu shopping mall, where I engaged with parents in front of one of our displays. I also distributed a letter to parents explaining the many things they can do at home to help build their child's reading, writing and maths skills - focusing on learners in Grades 1-3.
Some of the suggestions for reading and writing include letting the whole family join the local library, encouraging your child to read to you and even sharing family stories, and to make use of school textbooks and readers. For maths, I have asked parents to look for opportunities in their day to day life at home to teach their children basic maths skills, such as encouraging your child to measure flour or sugar when baking, cutting sandwiches into various shapes, and introducing games where your child can sort cards into numbers, colours and shapes.
It is simple interventions such as this that can make a difference in a child's education and it is important that parents acknowledge that they have a major role to play and that they should take ownership of that role.
Through the combined efforts of learners, educators and parents, as well as support from the WCED, we are confident that we will ensure over time that all the learners of this province will be numerate and literate at the appropriate level for their grade.
Let's make education Better Together!
For more information on what your child needs to learn and how you can help at home, see "Tips for Parents" on the web at http://wced.school.za.