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The Royal Netherlands Embassy Donates 40-Million Rand For The National Reading Programme.

5/9/2006 12:00:00 AM

Media release
The Royal Netherlands Embassy has donated 40-million rand for the National Reading Programme. This is addition to the 15-million rand that the Embassy has already donated for the Reading Programme. The Deputy Ambassador of the Royal Netherlands, Ms Geeskelien Wolters, has made the announcement. The Minister of Education, Ms Naledi Pandor, MP, yesterday, launched the National Reading Programme at Izingolweni Primary School in Port Shepstone, KwaZulu-Natal.

The National Reading Programme is a book programme. It begins with three main initiatives that will put books into schools across the length and breadth of South Africa. The first initiative is the provision of 100 fiction books to 5,233 primary schools in quintiles 1,2 and 3. The second initiative is the provision of a set of 40 titles, selected from Africa's best books of the 20th Century, to 751 Grade 9 schools in similar quintiles. And the third initiative is the provision of 30 mobile library buses for use in areas where there are no community and public libraries.

The Japanese, non-governmental organisation, Together Asia and Africa Association, has four mobile library units. The units have been handed-over to the KwaZulu/Natal provincial education department. These units are part of the 30 buses that will be imported by 2007 for a national roll out of the mobile library in education service.

Twenty (20) schools for the blind also received 100 books from Africa's 100 best books of the 20th century collection, which have been translated into Braille.

The National Reading Programme is aimed at the following:

  • Improving the reading and writing skills of learners, particularly ensuring that they can read fluently at Grade 3.
  • Raise the national profile and support for reading
  • Increase the capacity of teachers to teach reading, and
  • Provide sufficient reading resources to support the teaching of reading in schools.
The Reading Programme is also a way of responding to empirical evidence from various studies, which the Department of Education conducted in 2001 and 2004. The studies revealed that many of our school children could not read, write or count at the age appropriate level.

Amongst those who attended the event were, the MEC for Education, in KwaZulu/Natal, Ms Ina Cronje, prominent authors such as Dr Mongane Wally Serote. Howard Head, the son of Bessie Head, Dr David Paton, the son of Alan Paton and Robert Mphahlele, the son of E'skia Mphahlele, received tokens of appreciation from Minister Pandor on behalf of their parents for their immense contribution to Africa's 100 best books of the 20th century collection.

Contact Tommy Makhode by phone at 012 312 5538 or 082 566 0446.

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