In December 2007, the board of the International Association of School Libraries (IASL) declared October as the international School Library month. The adoption coincided with the maiden decade celebration of the contribution of school libraries. The theme for 2009 is “School libraries: the Big Picture”. The significance accorded by IASL to the contribution of school libraries in improving the educational performance of pupils and the attainment of one the key objectives of the UN Millennium Development Goals cannot be over-emphasised.
We would be appalled if someone waved a magic wand and took away our literacy. We cannot understand how others may not recognise the value of literacy.
But not everyone wants to be literate – or not enough to take time away from the daily earn-your-living challenge. When one literacy promoter invited poor rural women walking along an Ndwedwe road to join adult literacy classes, she was amazed to be told, “Yes, we will come to your school. How much will you pay us?”
Using ICT to Develop Literacy aims to provide a concise overview of the literacy issue and explain how information and communication technologies (ICTs) can be used to enhance literacy education and contribute to achieving the Literacy Decade goals. The booklet focuses on five areas where ICT can be utilised in literacy education: enhancing learning; raising access to literacy education; training of teachers; localising content; and creating a literacy-conducive environment. The booklet also contains examples of the use of ICT in literacy education.
LEAD Uganda, a NGO that provides education to orphaned and needy children, is set to build a post-primary institute to teach information and communication technology (ICT).
LEAD Uganda founder, Stephen Shames, says that there is no reason why ICT should be a preserve of developed countries.
Shames says that the institute will not only help impart ICT skills but will also bolster efforts in bridging the digital divide between Uganda and the developed world.
Provinces that currently show high pregnancy rates include Eastern Cape, with 69 pregnant pupils per 1 000 registered, KwaZulu-Natal with 62 and Limpopo with 60 per 1 000 registered.
The report states that the decline can be attributed to increased access to information and improved contraception use.
In a country with an army of young people who were, and still are out of school, unemployed and unskilled, the South African’s government launch of the National Youth Service Programme (NYS) in Cape Town five years ago on August 24 was a milestone in the youth development sector.
The University of the Free State vice-chancellor, Jonathan Jansen, says South Africa will be able to solve its problems only when it has sorted out its educational stumbling blocks.
Speaking at the first of a series of discussions called ‘Education Conversations’ in Bloemfontein, Jansen noted that, “If we are not going to get students from schools who understand democracy, we are not going to get the country right."
Poor schooling, television, video games and the use of "SMS language" have all played a part in producing the poor state of literacy displayed by South Africa's university entrants. This is according to the University of the North West Chancellor and chairperson of the Higher Education South Africa, Theunis Elloff.
Eloff, who presented a report on the issue to the parliamentary portfolio committee, says the literacy standards of more than half of university entrants are too low for them to succeed without help.
The Presidency and the Department of Basic Education have undertaken to provide 60 percent of all learners in no-fee schools with textbooks and other learning materials at the start of next year.
This is in addition to the provinces’ provision of learning materials and was part of the government’s commitment to implementing its policy, after years of praise for good policy and criticism for poor delivery.
“Education is the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.” These are the wise words of former president Nelson Mandela who celebrates his 91st birthday this month. Indeed prophetic words calling on all South Africans to account for the way in which education is used to ensure the success of South Africa’s nation-building project.