Literacy for all ...

Today I got to have breakfast at the Mount Nelson. It was quite disappointing from a food perspective but we, Steve Vosloo and myself, were there for the Breakfast Club as Naledi Pandor, Minister of Education, was the guest speaker.

The topic was advertised as the "crisis in education" and the Minister spoke about the entire education spectrum listing the things she thought were good and bad. Although covering the big picture she didn't deal with any particular issue in a lot of detail. I won't comment on her good and bad lists, perhaps Steve will, but mention one project that did stand out for me.

Last week a bunch of newspaper clippings were dumped on my desk and I started to read them but I never made it through the entire pile. I skimmed a story from the Mail & Guardian that I thought was very interesting but hadn't yet gone back to read it properly.

The Minister's list of good news/projects included a literacy project, Kha ri Gude, that she said had far exceeded expectations. The project had been going for one month and had registered 200 000 people into the program. The goal for the first year was only 300 000! This is the project that the Mail & Guardian article was about and I felt that if I could promote awareness of its existence I should.

I like the project because it is driven by passionate, extremely well-qualified people. "To help, the department has appointed auditing company SAB&T to manage the project and seconded two of its senior officials to the campaign to ensure the integrity of the financial and administrative systems. In addition, curriculum, research and evaluation committees will oversee the campaign, while there will also be a monitoring team including international experts and an inter-­ministerial committee for general oversight."

It sounds to me like the right people have done the groundwork, the pilot, and are running the project with the experience and skills that matter. The great thing is that they have now been given the freedom to scale their project with proper governmental support and buy-in, with proper audits and accountability thrown in for good measure.

Today we discussed how one might choose to spend money to best make an impact on education, well finding a good project like this and just adding to their ability to roll-out on a larger or more sustained scale is probably a good bet :)

I'll try to get Steve's thoughts on the Minister's speech for you!


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