Eight in 10 South African children struggle to read by the age of 10, according to a new survey.

Eight out of 10 South African school children struggle to read by the age of ten, according to a recent international study.

PICTURE: pixels.com

South Africa ranked last out of 57 countries assessed in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, which aimed to test the reading ability of 400,000 students worldwide in 2021.

The study found that illiteracy among South African children increased to 81% this year in comparison to 78% in 2016. It also found that 81% of children could not read to comprehend in any of South Africa's eleven official languages.

The country's education minister, Angie Motshekga, blamed the results on school closures during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"...reading instruction often focuses solely on oral performance, neglecting reading comprehension and making sense of written words", she added.

The Minister described the results as "disappointingly low", and also said the country's education system is faced with many significant historical challenges, including poverty, inequality and inadequate infrastructure.

South Africa's education system still struggles, with longstanding and significant inequality between black an white students, a lasting consequence of the segregation of children under the apartheid system.

Done by: Thaakiera Ackerdien


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