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Media Release

30 October, 2007

WCED launches family learning campaign

Statement by Western Cape Education MEC Cameron Dugmore

The Western Cape Education Department (WCED) has launched a family learning campaign to promote reading, writing and mathematics in the home.

The family learning campaign forms part of the WCED's broader strategy to improve learner performance in literacy and numeracy, especially in poor communities.

The WCED introduced the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy in July 2006. The strategy includes teacher development and support, the provision of teaching and learning materials, diagnostic testing and building family literacy and numeracy.

Our interventions at school level are now well underway and are showing signs of making a difference.

However, families and communities have key roles to play in building a culture of literacy and numeracy in the home, and we now want to assist parents and community leaders in making this possible.

Many schools, community organizations and agencies on all levels of government are already implementing a wide range of initiatives to encourage numeracy and literacy in the home.

These efforts include the work of our district offices, adult education centres, non-governmental organizations and municipal libraries, among others. This campaign will complement and support these efforts.

We have to work together as partners to build a momentum that will make a real difference for our learners, especially in poor communities, and to encourage families to engage in life-long learning.

We will introduce the family learning campaign in phases, starting with a campaign to encourage simple activities in the home that will build literacy and numeracy skills.

The good news is that you don't have to be literate or numerate to enjoy these activities with your children. Simple story telling can do a lot to build literacy skills, by encouraging children and adults to use language.

Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts and caregivers in general all have stories to tell, about the family and themselves, which also help to build families and communities.

Simple number games using numbers in the home can also do much to build numeracy skills, especially for children in Grades 1 to 3.

We will launch the second phase of the family learning campaign in the new year by encouraging lifelong learning, especially at our adult education centres.

Our Adult Education and Training Division is working with the Learning Cape Initiative on developing this aspect of the campaign. This campaign will also support the national drive next year to improve the national adult literacy rate.

Key messages of our family learning campaign are the following:

  • Literacy and numeracy hold the key to all future learning
  • Parents can help to develop the literacy and numeracy skills of their children at home
  • Parents can develop their own literacy and numeracy skills and can engage in life-long learning
  • Partners can contribute on all levels to encourage family learning
  • Family learning builds families, communities and hope for the future

We will use radio to speak to parents in poor communities across the whole province during the first phase of this campaign, starting on Monday, 29 October 2007, combined with direct marketing to parents of learners in our 21 poorest communities.

We will broadcast 810, 30-second radio advertisements over the next six weeks on 10 radio stations with a with a combined listenership of about 6.1-million people. The advertisements will provide tips on how to build literacy and numeracy skills at home.

Fortunately, we can reach also parents directly via the school system. We will distribute about 120 000 pamphlets to parents in our 21 poorest communities via their children who attend more than 400 schools in these communities.

The pamphlets, in three languages, will provide:

  • Tips on what parents can do to build the skills of the children in reading, writing, language use and mathematics in the home
  • Information on what their children should be able to do in terms of the national curriculum for Grade 3, and
  • Examples of word and number games that teachers use to develop literacy and numeracy skills in the classroom.

Our schools and officials have already shown that they can make a difference by implementing special interventions at school level. Our literacy results have improved significantly over the past five years, although our learners are still struggling in mathematics.

We now call on parents, communities and partners in all sectors to assist us in making further progress. We must work together to build quality learning homes for all. By building people, we will build a better future for everyone in this province.

For enquiries, contact Gert Witbooi:  082 550 3938, or gwitbooi@pgwc.gov.za.

Issued by:
Gert Witbooi
Media Liaison Officer
Office of the MEC for Education
Western Cape
Tel: 021 467 2523
Fax: 021 425 5689

Visit our website: http://wced.wcape.gov.za

The Western Cape - A Home for All
INtshona Koloni - iKhaya loMntu wonke
Die Wes-Kaap - 'n Tuiste vir Almal

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2007 WCED