Education to read and write in 2011

2011 marked the first of DGMT’s five years in its new funding strategy. What is abundantly clear from the proposals that were submitted during the course of this year is that most of the applicants are still trying to get to grips with the strategic priorities for the Education programme. Out of the applications received in this current financial year for the Education to read and write programme, only 25% of them were given further consideration. 75% of them were turned down at the initial phase mostly because they were not specifically focusing on programmes addressing the strategic priorities of the Education portfolio. They were not facilitating early literacy development; they had nothing to do with the creation of reading and writing opportunities for children already in the formal school system by providing enrichment or remedial programmes for children already in the formal school system or supporting programmes that build systemic support for effective, sustainable and routine curriculum delivery support to schools. In a large number of cases for applications that were unsuccessful, they tended to request funding for the full range of programmes or services that their organisations were offering. There were also instances where the applications were turned down on the basis that the organisations were requesting funding for infrastructure or equipment.

Of the 17 projects that were approved in 2011, 6 of them were programmes that supported the cognitive development of the 0 – 6 years old group of learners through early learning programmes. In addition, 5 out of 17 projects were looking at providing direct additional literacy development support to school children through enrichment programmes or initiatives aimed remediating the literacy development backlogs of school children. Three of the approved programmes were still focusing on literacy development but through developing the capacity of educators facilitate learners’ literacy development effectively. One project was squarely based on building systemic support for education delivery in schools by building support and monitoring capacity at district level. The last key project approved in 2011 was the Nal’ibali reading initiative that is meant to involve communities in storytelling and reading to young children and popularising this idea through the use of the media.

As we travel down the DGMT five year strategy, it will increasingly become more important for partners applying for funding to work out what their programmes are meant to achieve and how that relate to DGMT’s strategic priorities. DGMT is keen to support initiatives that create models of practice that can be adapted and utilised in other contexts. In addition, DGMT is of the view that programmes that have a potential to be of benefit to other people beyond the immediate, primary target group are worth supporting because of their value for money. Lastly, DGMT also considers programmes that are intended to address bottlenecks to be very critical in the sense that they effectively enable access to services otherwise out of reach for many beneficiaries.

3 Comments

  • Dave Orton says:

    Numeracy is just as important as literacy in living in the modern environment.

  • Phillip Methula says:

    You are absolutely right, Dave, on your view about numeracy. It might not have been expressly mentioned but many of the programmes that DGMT currently funds particularly on cognitive development for 0 – 6 year olds are structured in ways that make numeracy and literacy inseparable components. For example, much of the language development of two year olds is centered on visual concepts of counting and numbers. Even at Foundation Phase level when numeracy and literacy are treated as discrete learning areas it is still very difficult to have the one without the other. That’s how interdependent they are!

  • I am biased but I always think that poor numeracy does not affect our ability to read but not being literate does affect numeracy skills. Both are important. In an ideal world it should not be either or.

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