reading project gives rural 

learners the edge

Cedric Mboyisa


Foundation and junior phase learners from deep rural areas of Eshowe are now able to read English books with amazing proficiency, thanks to a private sector project implemented three years ago.

One such learner is Lwandle Ngcobo, who is in Grade R at Ngedlesi Primary School. She mesmerised the audience during this year’s Rally to Read Programme at the school. “She is one of above average learners in my class. She likes reading books and asks questions about everything that is related to her school work,” said her teacher Dludla. She went on to heap praise on the initiative, whose sponsors this year included Toyota SA Motors, Bidvest, Telkom Foundation, Nedbank’s MFC, Eris Properties, Cataler, Tongaat Hulett. The South African Sugar Association, through its Sugar Industry Trust Fund for Education, took care of the accommodation for all the participants.

The primary’s principal, Sbusiso Gumede, said the project had led to a number of improvements in terms of learning and teaching. “When this project was introduced three years back, the staff and I had that fear of the unknown. Though I was optimistic about the project, teachers were negative at first such that I had to sit down with them and motivate them to accept it as I believed the school and learners would benefit in one way or the other. Eventually we all accepted it.”

Educational benefits

He added: “Before the implementation of the project, teachers in the junior phase were struggling with teaching kids vowels and consonants. Learners could not make sentences as they did not even  learn all consonants by the time they left the junior phase. Intervention by Rally to Read changed the whole scenario. Grade R kids now can read any book in HL and in FAL using pictures. Junior phase learners now are able to make sentences, paragraphs and even essays in Grade 3 independently. Learners in Foundation Phase are also able to communicate in English.”

Sponsors for this year’s programme contributed a total of R837 500 for the 12 selected schools.

The other primary schools which have benefited from the project are Dumazinkani, Elomoya, Habeni, Inyathi, Maqhwakazi, Mbongolwane, Nkunzemalunda, Queen Nandi, Thembalesizwe, Vulinqondo and Whebede. Sponsors for this year’s programme contributed a total of R837 500 for the 12 selected schools.