By Onalenna Mhlongo
President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on the nation to use reading as a stepping-stone to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
He said the collective task as a nation is to move South Africa to the next frontier of economic development, in which basic education plays a key role.
He said that it is for this reason that reading is government’s apex priority.
“This means that we must continue to focus on the achievement of reading outcomes in the early grades, rolling out the subjects of the future such as robotics and coding, while giving our learners a choice of learning streams that best suit their capabilities,” said the President.
The President was speaking during a recent Basic Education Sector Lekgotla in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni.
“Just as the First Industrial Revolution has been helpful to the nation, we welcome the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said President Ramaphosa.
In light of this, the President said that research has shown that for society to thrive in today’s fast changing world, learners require a new breadth of skills.
“These skills are still rooted in academic competencies such as literacy, numeracy and science but also include such things as team work, critical thinking, communication, persistence, and creativity,” added the President.
The President added that all these skills are interconnected.
“They are part and parcel of the skills set necessary to meet the demands of a changing economy and the future of work,” said the President.
In this regard, the government plans to ensure that all learners read well.
Thus, he announced that all teachers are going back to school to refine their teaching methodologies.
“We will train all our teachers thoroughly, and provide age and language relevant materials to all our learners,” said President Ramaphosa.
The President also commended the Department of Basic Education for moving with speed in implementing one of the 2019 SONA commitments – to ignite a reading revolution in our country.
“Since we made that commitment, a coordinating structure for the reading revolution – the National Reading Coalition – has been established and is now operational.
“Together with the Department of Basic Education, the Coalition has finalised a comprehensive National Reading Plan, which is an overarching evidence-based strategy that will alter the entire reading landscape in the country,” said President Ramaphosa.