Literacy and numeracy support materials were donated to nine schools in the Port Elizabeth district of the Department of Education (DoE) this week to assist their Grades 1–3 teachers with the implementation of the Foundations for Learning campaign.
These schools are part of a circuit team pilot project which is managed by the General Motors South Africa Foundation (GMSAF) in partnership with the Department of Education’s Port Elizabeth District Office. According to Andre Forbes, project co-ordinator of the GMSAF, this new pilot circuit team project is a mechanism designed to improve education service delivery to the schools.
The pilot circuit team, drawn from all sections of the district office, has taken responsibility to address the specific needs of the pilot schools. Based on the outcome of the whole school evaluation process, the multi-disciplinary circuit team is interacting with schools on a daily basis and is applying needs-specific programmes including whole school development, general curriculum advice and special needs support such as social work, remedial, psychology and occupational therapy.
One of the key focus areas of the circuit team has been the Foundation phase with a special emphasis being the improvement of the literacy and numeracy performance of the grade 1-3 learners.
Forbes explained that national and international studies have shown that South African children in primary school are not performing at required levels in literacy and numeracy and lag behind international standards. “The GMSA Foundation acknowledges that the ability to read is central to all learning and places great emphasis on the early acquisition of reading literacy,” he added.
The pilot schools were therefore provided with high quality literacy and numeracy resources in order to demonstrate the impact that access to textbooks has on reading performance. Forbes believes that the alarming downward trend in the reading and numeracy levels of learners over the last few years clearly indicates the urgent need for a radical change in the way support is offered to schools.
“GMSAF is confident that this resource material – coupled with the continued support of the circuit team – will result in a provincially and nationally replicable model to improve education outcomes in SA schools,” said Forbes.