Literacy is a problem, says Makgoe

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"We have realised that English is very important as a business, commerce and educational language."
These are the words of Free State MEC of education, Tate Makgoe, at the department's Language Development and Enrichment Festival. The festival took place at the Philip Saunders Resort from 25 to 26 September 2015 in an effort to improve the level of literacy among primary school learners.
Learners of Grade 4 – 7 showcased their ability to master the language by taking part in debating, reading, drama and Spelling Bee competitions. Learners of Grade 4 – 6 participated in the Spelling Bee competition, while Grade 5 – 7 learners took part in the reading and debating competitions. Grade 4 – 7 learners also took part in a drama performance.
Makgoe noted that literacy is a problem all over South Africa. The Basic Education Sector Action Plan requires that 65% of learners should achieve 50% and above in their First Additional Language by 2019.
"We think all the above competitions will contribute to English being established as a communicative and educational language. It was exciting to see Grade 4s compete with Grade 7s on the same topics.
"We are competing with technology and the language of SMSs. Children do not want to read anymore. Literacy is a problem and we want all children to feel confident communicating in English," says Makgoe.
The department of basic education's Spelling Bee South Africa Championships will be held in Johannesburg from 8 – 10 October 2015. – Mark Steenbok
mark@centralmediagroup.co.za