Education specialist Professor Mary Metcalfe says it is important to figure out why the majority of South African children cannot read for meaning.
This follows the release of the latest Progress in International Reading Literacy Study which showed that over 80 percent of South African children in Grade four cannot read for meaning in any language.
The concerns stem from the revelation that all of the country’s 11 official languages were used in the assessment.
Metcalfe says the child’s first three years of schooling are essential.
“Young children who don’t learn to read in the first three years and if that learning isn’t consolidated in the remaining years, [they] really go through schooling crippled, because reading is the foundation of learning all the way through. So, what are we doing wrong? The results that have been published so far for this year, show that we really are not doing well and the greatest loss and the weakest performance is in those schools that serve the most disadvantaged learners.”
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