By the age of ten, eight out of ten South African youngsters are unable to read.
According to an international research, eight out of ten South African schoolchildren struggle to read by the age of ten.
South Africa was placed lowest out of 57 countries in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, which measured the reading abilities of 400,000 schoolchildren worldwide in 2021.
Illiteracy among South African youngsters increased from 78% in 2016 to 81% in 2017.
The results were blamed on school cancellations during the Covid-19 outbreak, according to the country’s education minister.
Angie Motshekga, who described the findings as “disappointingly low,” also stated that the country’s school system has experienced enormous historical obstacles, such as poverty, inequality, and poor infrastructure.
“Reading instruction in many primary schools often focuses solely on oral performance, neglecting reading comprehension and making sense of written words,” she continued.
According to the research, 81% of South African children were unable to read for comprehension in any of the country’s 11 official languages.
South Africa, along with Morocco and Egypt, was one of only three African countries that took part in the exams to track trends in literacy and reading comprehension among nine- and ten-year-olds.
The new study ranks countries in a worldwide education league table based on tests administered at the end of each school year every five years.
Singapore topped the rankings with an average score of 587, while South Africa finished bottom with 288 points, falling short of Egypt’s average of 378. The results are compared to an international average of 500.
The survey also found that, in virtually all of the countries studied, girls outperformed boys in reading achievement, but the gender gap has shrunk in the most recent testing session.
South Africa has long struggled with its education system, with severe inequity between black and white students as a result of apartheid-era child segregation.