Author(s): Spaull, Nic
Pages: 25 p.
The former Deputy President of South Africa Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has convened the annual ‘2030 Reading Panel’ to bring together respected South African leaders to ask: “What needs to change for us to ensure that all children learn to read by 2030?” The panel will meet once a year every year until 2030. Given new estimates of learning losses from the pandemic, South Africa is even further behind the 2030 goal than it was before the pandemic. There is now the real possibility that the pandemic has wiped out a decade of progress in reading outcomes. If learning loss estimates are correct and the country manages to get back onto the pre-pandemic improvement trajectory, it will still take 86 years from 2023 until all Grade 4 children can read for meaning in SA (i.e. the year 2108). To reach the 2030 goal, fundamental reforms are required in the ways that teachers are recruited, trained, certified, supported and evaluated, as well as far-reaching reforms on education financing and the resourcing of schools. In the absence of these reforms, any goal of ensuring all children learn to read for meaning by age 10 by 2030 is aspirational rhetoric.