Thursday 13 June

MEDIA ADVISORY: The Right to Read Campaign is launching to remedy the literacy crisis in schools

Published by Section27 on

24 August 2023, Johannesburg – The Right to Read Campaign, made up of organisations that include the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC), the Legal Resources Centre (LRC), Equal Education (EE), and SECTION27, invite you to their launch, on Wednesday, 30 August 2023.

The 2021 Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) results released in May revealed that 81% of grade 4 learners in South Africa cannot read for meaning in any language by the end of the Foundation Phase. The inability of most of our learners to read for meaning is not only an indicator of a system failing to provide all of the inputs necessary to give children a reasonable opportunity to learn to read for meaning but is an infringement of their right to basic education.

The campaign aims to address the pressing reading crisis and ensure the realization of every learner’s constitutional right to basic education. It has identified four crucial interventions that must be included in binding regulations to achieve this goal.

  1. Regular Standardized Assessments: The regulations should mandate regular standardized assessments of learners to ensure they are on track to achieve meaningful reading skills.
  2. Access to Reading Materials: Sufficient reading texts and materials should be made available to both learners and teachers to foster a conducive learning environment.
  3. Quality Literacy Training: The regulations must prescribe accredited literacy training for foundation and intermediate phase teachers as well as in-service teachers to enhance their teaching abilities.
  4. Optimal Classroom Time: The regulations should determine the appropriate time dedicated to acquiring literacy skills within the classroom setting.

The binding regulations are anticipated to provide a much-needed blueprint for improving literacy levels across the country. The regulations will clarify the state’s, schools’ and teachers’ obligations in supporting effective literacy development. It is hoped they will be developed collaboratively by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and provincial education departments’ experts, with input from various stakeholders.

Join us at the launch event as we address this critical issue and strive to secure the fundamental right to education for all learners.  Details of the event are as follows:

Event: Right to Read Campaign Launch

Date: Wednesday, 30 August 2023

Time: 10:00 – 14:00 

Location: Women’s Jail, Constitutional Hill, Johannesburg

For more details about the campaign or how to get involved email or visit the website at




Kenneth Sithebe

079 581 8565


Thabo Ramphobole

068 585 2442


Noncedo Madubedube

079 170 4656


Gillian Pillay

082 772 0052


Bridget van Oerle

083 263 6991


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