To help improve the reading, writing, comprehension and verbal skills among primary school learners in Grades 4 to 6 in the Western Cape, Growthpoint Properties partnered with the Western Cape Education Department to create Growsmart. Launched in 2010, the high impact literacy programme is gaining ground as it positively influences the lives of the pupils, teachers, schools and the communities of the Western Cape.
Growsmart in a nutshell:
Literacy levels in South African schools are unacceptably low. The national average for Grade 3 literacy performance for Home Language in 2012 was 52%. For Grades 6 and 9 it was 43%. The Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) tested learners from 49 countries, including South Africa, in 2011. According to the University of Pretoria, the study found that 43% of South African Grade 5 learners ‘failed to reach the lowest international benchmark’ and have not yet mastered basic reading skills requiring access and retrieval of information for reading comprehension purposes. They also noted that 59% of schools in South Africa have no libraries (in fact, of the 49 countries only Morocco had a higher percentage of schools without libraries).
THE WESTERN CAPE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
Growthpoint works closely with the Western Cape Education Department to ensure that Growsmart is relevant and applicable to the teaching curriculum for Grades 4 to 6. Teachers, principals, district managers and head office personnel volunteer their time and energy to make Growsmart a practical part of the school day and to assist in the competition rounds.
MAKING DREAMS COME TRUE
The United Nations’ International Literacy Day is on the 8th of September each year, which is also the final round of the Growsmart competition – the day on which the winners are rewarded with substantial prizes worth more than R 500 000 (this year the final will be held on the 7th of September, because the 8th falls on a Sunday). There are many inspiring, heart-warming stories that have come out of Growsmart, plus heaps of positive feedback from parents, teachers and learners.