One of the problems with students who cannot read effectively is that they fail to grasp important concepts, score poorly on tests and examinations and ultimately, fail to meet educational milestones. Literacy skills allow students to seek out information, explore subjects in-depth and gain a deeper understanding of the world around them.
In recognition of this, and in celebration of the International Literacy Day, the University of Johannesburg (UJ) student volunteers recently joined learners at Everest Primary School near Randburg, Johannesburg to raise awareness to the importance of reading and writing amongst children aged 5 to 12. The initiative was also part of the UJCE’s celebration of World Literacy Month. According to research, younger children have a cognitive ability to solve problems at an early age as they quickly adapt in a learning environment during their early childhood development.
Due to Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, the event was limited to 50 people, including the staff of Everest Primary School, learners and UJ volunteers. The UJ Community Engagement (UJCE) Unit, Phoenix logistics, a freight services company, House of Lettie (specialises in tax services) and Edu Fan/ Read for Africa partnered to make the day a success.
The UJCE volunteers also incorporated their literary initiative called Dare to Read Programme, which is aimed at assisting learners with reading and writing skills and equipping them with knowledge and other extracurricular activities. The Dare to Read, which was founded by Mrs. Natalie Goodman Welcome, takes part on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, with the assistance provided by UJCE volunteer champions. The programme is in line with the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s Education and Literacy, which promotes the provision of equality education for all children and access to learning resources to all children in Early Childhood Development.
Said Mr Lebogang Seale, the Senior Manager, UJCE: “Successive research have shown that South Africa consistently struggle when it comes to the issue of basic reading and writing. As the Community Engagement Unit, we understand that the University is only relevant if it contributes to social upliftment through the sharing of knowledge and skills. In doing so, we understand the importance of literacy, not only in developing learning skills but in enriching an individual’s life but in creating opportunities for learners and their future.”
- Article contributed by Thabelo Chauba (Public relations and Communication student, UJ).