Now is the opportune time to gather the best efforts to improve reading, this was the clarion call from National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) CEO Godwin Khosa during the official launch of the National Reading Coalition (NRC).

On Friday, 15 February at the Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre, the NECT together with the Department of Basic Education (DBE) called on all South Africans to coordinate efforts towards addressing the reading challenge facing the country.

The NRC is a self-sustaining, agile ecosystem of reading initiatives across South Africa. It is pitched as a collaborative platform where ideas can be developed and implemented by various role players to improve the state of reading in and outside the classroom. At the outset, the coalition will target schools in 25% of the Education Department circuits across the country. This involves 263 circuits out of a total of 1051.

The launch was attended by over 350 representatives from the civil society, business, unions and education fraternity at large.

Mr Khosa shared interim findings from a reading landscape audit conducted in the target 25% of education circuits and provided details of reading initiatives currently being implemented within the coalition.

Furthermore, the NRC will be working to leverage off strides and efforts made by the DBE’s Read to Lead Campaign which was launched in 2016. Minister Angie Motshekga fully welcomed the development of the coalition and indicated that it will help complement the existing Read to Lead Campaign.

The launch also gave an opportunity for stakeholders to make inputs on a proposed national plan in a form of breakaway commission sessions.  The inputs wer e guided by the NRC value chain model with six focus areas deemed critical to the improvement of reading: Initial Teacher Preparation, Access to Resources, Community Involvement, Continuous Professional Development, Policy, Research and Evaluation.

After the breakaway sessions, convenors who are assigned to each focus area presented inputs on how to tackle the reading challenge over the next three years.

Author: Mongezi Masilela