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SA literacy rate: 'Parental support remains a crucial factor'

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study has ranked the country the worst on a global scale.

Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - The Basic Education Department says improving South Africa's literacy levels cannot be the sole responsibility of educators and parental support remains a crucial factor.

The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study has ranked the country the worst on a global scale.

The study was conducted between 2011 and last year, with 50 countries taking part.

It’s found that 78% of South African pupils in grade 4 are illiterate.

The Basic Education Department's Elijah Mhlanga says children need to read at home too.

“There’s no reading culture, reading cannot be a school project only, we must also have it at home.”

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance’s shadow minister for education Ian Ollis has called on Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga to come up with urgent remedies to address the problem in the foundation phase.

The department says it's still studying the report to come up with suitable and sustainable solutions.

At the same time, Wits University's Professor Brahm Fleisch says literacy is a long-term problem which will take time to address.

“We need to address not only the teaching methods but the material available to those teachers. The syllabus is not necessarily the issue, it’s the way the teachers enact the syllabus. The syllabus we now call the curriculum.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)