Numerous studies show that when it comes to international education standards—particularly in terms of numerical and reading literacy—South African children continue significantly to underperform.
In order to measure just how bad this crisis is, and to find ways to counter this as children enter high school, 3 600 Grade 7 learners around the country will put their literacy skills to the test on Thursday 11 October 2018. They will be taking the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants annual Grade 7 Quiz.
‘South African children are in the midst of a literacy crisis,’ says Gugu Makhanya, SAICA’s Senior Executive: Transformation Growth. ‘Last year, the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study report that measured global literacy levels between 2011 and 2016, found that 78% of the pupils who participated in the South African leg of the study were illiterate. This placed our country last out of the 50 countries that were reviewed. Add to this the fact that the quality of the country’s maths remains among the lowest in the world, and the future knock-on effects of this crisis are immense.’
Makhanya continues: ‘After all, studies show that countries with more skilled workforces in both numerical and reading literacy terms tend to have citizens with higher pay and better employment prospects, which ultimately translates into higher rates of economic growth.’
As an institute with a vested interest in ensuring that South Africa has more citizens— especially young adults—who are numerically literate, this is a crisis that the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)