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Eight in 10 South African children struggle to read by age of 10.

The recently released Progress in International Reading and Literacy Study (PIRLS) conducted in 2021, reveals that eight out of 10 Grade 4 pupils in South Africa cannot read for meaning. Not only that, but SA ranked at the bottom of all countries surveyed.

DG Murray Trust Innovation Director Kentse Radebe spoke to Cape Talk’s Sara-Jayne Makwala King.

Says Radebe: “One of the key findings was that children who attend rural schools, which are less resourced than schools in urban areas, are performing poorly. This tells us that as a population, our children are falling behind. But some of the key drivers are inequality. This makes it difficult for children to be adequately supported to teach children the correct technical skills and ability to read for meaning.”

If children are struggling to read, they’re more likely to have academic challenges as they move throughout their school career. She adds: “This means they’re less likely to get to matric. We will experience a higher rate of school dropouts, which means less opportunity for people to pursue tertiary education. So we’ll have more young people without the adequate resources to get employment or to be economically connected. That costs us as it reduces their ability to contribute to our GDP. And it means we have to provide welfare to ensure those individuals are adequately supported.”

Listen to the full interview below.

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