Volkswagen Community Trust

Addressing literacy levels in the Metro

07 October 2016

If a child cannot read then they cannot understand what is expected of them in each of the subjects they do at school and this affects their entire school career.

To address this, VWSA hosted the second annual Literacy Conference where the overarching aim is for learners in the Metro to be functionally literate by the end of Grade 3.

The conference covers issues from early childhood development practices, to debates on technology literature and its role in promoting functional literacy in early childhood.

Speakers at the conference included our Chairman MD Thomas Schaefer and Corporate and Government Affairs Director Nonkqubela Maliza who re-itterated our company's commitment to functional literacy.

Also addressing delegates was newly-elected Mayor Athol Trollip with a keynote address from the municipality where he highlighted the Eastern Cape's shocking Matric rate of 56.8% (the lowest in the country) and that if we do not address early childhood challenges, it will be worse in 10 years.

Mayor Trollip also thanked Volkswagen for the role we play in the community, and also further stressed the importance of a good foundation in literacy.

Dr Guiletta Harrison from the Centre of Social Development at Rhodes University presented the literacy baseline study which included research from seven schools.

The study, amongst other things, found that teachers are not planning their lessons, are not trained on how to assess properly, principals and heads of departments must hold teachers accountable, teachers need to actively plan lessons, children need to be given time to read and parents need to be involved in their  children's learning.

As Nonkqubela Maliza stated: "improving the state of literacy in the Metro cannot be done overnight", but the reassuring thing is that it is being done one school at a time.