Reference: Published by Yoliswa Sobuwa (News24), 17 May 2023
Following the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, the Department of Basic Education voiced worry about the low performance of students.
- Concern has been expressed by the Department of Basic Education on the subpar performance of students tested in their native African languages.
- During the Progress in International Reading Literacy examinations, the students were put to the test.
- The department claimed that the students’ success in the English and Afrikaans tests was not unexpected.
The Department of Basic Education has expressed worry on the subpar performance of students examined for the Progress in International Reading Literacy exams in their native African languages.
The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) 2021, which was unveiled on Tuesday in Pretoria, found that 81% of South African students in Grade 4 were unable to read with comprehension.
South Africa slipped to 288 points, according to Mathanzima Mweli, director-general of basic education. 500 points served as the standard.
The success of the students who were given the examinations in English and Afrikaans, according to Mweli, is not surprising.
“Unfortunately, students who sat the exam in their native African languages did the worst. This is historical fact, and African mother tongues have not always had equal respect, he continued.
He claimed that it had been determined to start allowing mother tongue instruction in Grade 4 onward.
African languages must receive funding and support for teaching and learning. We are putting the finishing touches on a reading approach that will introduce a program for first-graders that incorporates tried-and-true best practices. The first step will be to increase school readiness by providing improved early childhood development services.
He claimed that home language literacy was the main objective, with encouragement for English as a first foreign language.
We must overcome obstacles and cross bodies of water; business as usual is not an option. We have reviewed our existing approach, and it is clear that in the emerging and early-grade phases, we need to greatly enhance the teaching and learning of African home language reading literacy.
According to Mweli, the department’s goal is for students to have access to the best possible education and training by the year 2030, which will result in noticeably better learning results.
In worldwide standardized assessments, “South African students’ performance should be comparable to students from other countries,” he stated.
The use of evidence to help every student at their place of need should guide the strategy, according to Dr. Qetelo Moloi, an associate researcher at the University of Johannesburg and one of the speakers at the event.
“Our efforts should be on encouraging behavior that results in better teaching and learning. For the purpose of identifying and reporting on the information, understanding, and abilities that students need to display, it is necessary to set a national benchmark and performance levels across the educational system.
Local academics ought to be encouraged to offer continuing research and technical assistance to improve implementation strategies, he said.