Numeracy and literacy skills among Grade 3 schoolchildren are unacceptably low, Education Minister Naledi Pandor said yesterday
"Though the average score in last year's survey was a little higher than the baseline 2001 result (30 percent), the scores are still unacceptably low," she told the foundation phase (Grade R to Grade 3) conference in Mokopane, Limpopo.
According to last year's survey - which looked particularly at Grade 3 children - the overall score in literacy was 36 percent, with 35 percent for numeracy. The survey was conducted among more than 54000 Grade 3 pupils from more than 2400 primary schools.
Pandor said the achievement of pupils in numeracy and literacy varied in relation to the language of instruction, with English- and Afrikaans-speaking pupils faring better. English- and Afrikaansspeaking children's numeracy scores were at 48 percent and 49 percent, respectively, while literacy scores were at 43 percent and 48 percent.
"African language mother-tongue speakers had lower average scores. For Siswati and Xitsonga pupils the average numeracy scores were 24 percent and 20 percent, respectively. The literacy score for Siswati and Tshivenda speakers was 26 percent.
"Clearly, language issues affect pupils' performance in literacy and numeracy," Pandor said. - Sapa