Media Release
Minister of Education Donald Grant
Western Cape

16 February, 2012

The Launch of the 2012 Growsmart Literacy Competition

Statement by Minister Donald Grant, Minister of Education, Western Cape

Good afternoon

I am delighted to be here today at the launch of the 2012 Growsmart literacy competition.

The importance attached to the development of our primary school learners' literacy skills through reading and writing cannot be overstated.

Literacy is a crucial skill our children need in terms of their education and is the foundation upon which all further learning is built.

Children who cannot read and write will be presented with challenges throughout their life. We are seeing this all too often in our schools. Many of our learners are not reading and writing at the required levels, and results in problems for their future educational growth and development.

The necessity to promote reading and writing was made clear just two weeks ago, when I released the Grade 3, 6 and 9 literacy and numeracy results.

In the Grade 3 Literacy tests, learners achieved a 30.4% pass rate (at a 50% benchmark), while Grade 6 learners achieved 31.5% in languages.

Given that the test instruments for these tests are in line with international standards it is clear that there is a great deal of work ahead to ensure that our learners progress to a point where they can compete in a very competitive global market.

However, our heads are not in the sand. These results provide us with the tools to assess and inform our literacy strategy, which includes increased provision of textbooks and readers to schools, a focus on developing teachers' knowledge and skills in the areas of language, CAPS training and classroom assessment and monitoring.

Most importantly, we have to encourage and promote the love of reading and writing!

This is something that Growthpoint properties fully understand.

Corporate investment in education is vital and I would sincerely like to thank Growthpoint properties not only for realising the importance of education in creating a better South Africa, but for actively promoting reading and writing in our primary schools.

There is no greater joy for me as Ministerr than to see a child excited about reading. And from what I have heard, this competition is no stranger to excitement!

And just like its name, it is also no stranger to growth, and I am delighted to hear that the competition has expanded even further this year to 168 schools!

I would like to wish each and every competitor and school good luck in the competition this year.

They have nothing to lose from taking part in this competition and everything to gain. Not only do our learners "grow smarter" as the competition rolls on, but they also get the chance to make new friends, build a sense of teamwork and camaraderie, and receive a balanced dose of competitiveness along the way!

And one simply can't ignore some of the generous prizes that have been donated by Growthpoint Properties that will help improve facilities and resources at our schools.

But what I like most about this competition, apart from building our learners literacy skills, is that it involves a number of roleplayers across the board.

The Western Cape Government has recently launched its new brand and slogan - which is BETTER TOGETHER.

This slogan is so important and sums up what this competition is all about - we have learners, schools, government officials, private companies, parents and communities all involved - all determined to make our learners' literacy skills BETTER, TOGETHER.

If we all continue to carry along this path, promoting reading and writing, and encouraging others to do so as well, I have no doubt that we can help achieve our goals here in the Western Cape.

So let's all make education BETTER TOGETHER - let the 2012 Growsmart competition begin!


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2012 Western Cape Education Department