Newsletter 191 - The Reading "Revolution" - DBE, President Ramaphosa, Nal’ibali


This article appears on the Department of Basic Education (DBE)

Basic Education Director-General, Mr Hubert Mathanzima Mweli, called upon provincial officials and school principals to strengthen a culture of reading when he visited the Eastern Cape and Limpopo Provinces during 28 to 31 January 2019, to ensure the effective functionality of schools.

  • Mr Mweli was impressed with the collective efforts invested by officials in both provinces in transforming the landscape of education.
  • He applauded the Eastern Cape Province for having achieved a 5.6% improvement rate in the National Senior Certificate (NSC) Examinations and urged school principals to provide adequate support to progressed learners to achieve more bachelor passes and distinctions during 2019.   
  • Mr Mweli encouraged education stakeholders to work towards attaining the goals of the National Development Plan (NDP), which mandates the sector to ensure that by 2030, 90% of learners in the General Education and Training (GET) and Further Education and Training (FET) bands are eligible to perform at 50% and above, in both Languages and main stream subjects. 
  • Mr Mweli explained that the provincial meetings presented education officials with an opportunity to zoom into various critical areas that needed to be prioritised in turning the sector around. These include the following: “the prioritising and strengthening of reading across the curriculum; the improvement of learner performance in the GET band; the promotion of technical subjects; ensuring that technical schools are fully resourced and supported to deliver quality education; and the strengthening of quality assessments and School Based Assessments.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called upon all South Africans to join the national reading revolution by reading at least one book a week.

  • President Ramaphosa made this call during the Basic Education Sector Lekgotla which took place at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Benoni on 21 January 2019 saying that, “Reading is important. I want to call on all of you to start a reading revolution. Let us get South Africa reading. When we all start to read in a serious manner, we will be able to open new avenues of knowledge, innovation and creativity”.
  • The President added that, in preparing for the 6th democratic administration, the Basic Education Sector Plan needs to focus on a number of critical areas. He identified the development and implementation of a comprehensive strategy on improving reading as one of these critical intervention areas.
  • The National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) and the Department of Basic Education (DBE) will therefore be launching the National Reading Collaboration (NRC) on 15 February 2019 at the Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre in Benoni in the Gauteng Province. The NRC is aimed at coordinating reading improvement efforts nationally.
  • Parents, guardians and children of all ages can enjoy and share in the benefits of reading. You too can join the revolution. Start a book club in your community, donate books to your local school or library, read to your children or write a book. Let’s get South Africa reading!

Nal’ibali, will attempt to break the world read aloud record by reaching 1.5 million children on World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) today.

  • WRAD on 01 February, is one of the biggest annual literacy drives organised in partnership with the Department of Basic Education (DBE), in reaching out to thousands of children and adults in its bid to raise awareness of the importance of reading aloud. This will assist children to read in their mother-tongue, and with meaning, to develop their literacy proficiency.
  • The exciting event will be taking place at the Sandton Library, Nelson Mandela Square with 200 children from Soweto and Alexandra attending. The reading will be done by this year’s campaign ambassador, children’s author and social activist, Ms Lebohang Masango in support of the DBE’s Read to Lead Campaign.
  • Nal’ibali celebrates WRAD annually by commissioning a brand-new story and translating it into all 11 official languages, before asking South Africans to join them in reading it aloud to their children
  • Nal’ibali has also partnered with Blind SA and Sign Language and Education Development (SLED) to ensure that children in the deaf and blind communities are able to enjoy the story through the production of a braille story card, and a digital video in South African Sign Language.
  • During 2018, the read aloud story was written by acclaimed South African author, Ms Zukiswa Wanner, and was read to 1, 000 school children at the Mofolo Cultural Bowl in Mofolo Park, Soweto, Gauteng Province.

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