Teachers Committed to Improve Literacy and Numeracy Skills
Ensuring that all our learners are able to read, write and calculate at the appropriate level is a key priority for this administration, and we are determined, as outlined in our strategic plan, to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes, especially at the primary school level.
Therefore, I am delighted that we have had such a positive and overwhelming response to the Western Cape Education Department's (WCED's) two day Literacy Best Practice Conference, held at the Cape Teaching and Leadership Institute (CTLI). This is the first reading conference of its kind and support has been phenomenal.
Originally, the conference was geared to host three hundred (300) teachers, however, after an overwhelming response, the WCED increased the participants quota to one thousand five hundred (1 500) teachers.
Teachers have come from all over the province to participate, giving up their school holiday time, and are doing this at their own expense. This is very encouraging, as this turnout reflects the determination of our teachers to improve the literacy performance of our school children.
The conference, "Every Child Can Read", is geared at sharing best practice in the classroom in order to promote reading amongst learners.
Because of the large numbers, the delegates have been divided into 51 working groups where they attend different sessions on literacy development and skills, where teaching ideas are reinforced and developed. Sessions include, among others, the improvement of reading techniques, programmes on visual literacy, intervention strategies and analysis of reading errors, the active use of games and materials, and solutions to address barriers to reading.
Demonstration lessons were also presented using Grade R and Grade eight (8) learners who are struggling to read.
If we are going to improve learner outcomes in this province, we have to improve the literacy skills of all our learners. In the 2009 Grade six (6) literacy tests, it was revealed that the percentage of learners achieving fifty percent (50%) or more for literacy across the Western Cape is forty eight point six percent (48.6%).
While our interventions have seen this result increase by thirteen point six percent (13.6%) since 2003, we still need to do more. Therefore, developing the skills of our teachers in promoting reading can contribute to further increases in these results.
The WCED have also just completed a literacy and numeracy campaign across the province, which supports schools in their efforts to build the literacy and numeracy skills of their children at primary school level, and encourages parents to take an active interest in their children's education, and to build their reading, writing and calculating skills within their homes and family circles.
In the past few weeks we briefed principals on the results of the Grade six (6) assessment tests and had congratulatory visits to schools that have improved. Last week we celebrated excellence with an awards ceremony for the province?s top achievers.
Next month, we will begin our community roadshow, where we will hold meetings to inform parents about how they can help improve the literacy and numeracy skills of their children. Parents are encouraged to attend.
Through the combined effort of learners, teachers and parents, as well as support from the WCED, we are confident that we can continue to increase the levels of competency in literacy and numeracy in this province.
I would like to thank the hundreds of teachers who have attended this conference and are showing the kind of commitment and enthusiasm we need in order to provide a quality education for all in the Western Cape.
Minister of Education, Donald Grant
Cell: 072 724 1422
Tel: 021 467 2377