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AVBOB and Oxford University Press donated thousands of books to primary schools in South Africa

by | Jun 27, 2023 | News, Schools

AVBOB in partnership with Oxford University Press Southern Africa marked their second year of the Road to Literacy trolley library campaign. The aim of the campaign was to instill a culture of reading and contribute to improving numeracy skills of primary school children across South Africa by giving away 260 trolley libraries each equipped with 500 books donated by Oxford University Press Southern Africa. These trolley libraries included books in all 11 official South African languages, numeracy books and other learning resources to deserving primary schools and education NPOs.

On Thursday 15 June 2023, Carl van der Riet, CEO of AVBOB, together with Hanri Pieterse, Managing Director of OUP, announced the 260 beneficiaries of this year’s AVBOB Road To Literacy campaign. The announcement of the beneficiaries took place at an event held in Auckland Park at the SABC M1 Auditorium, where Angie Motshekga, Minister for Basic Education, was the keynote speaker.

“Adjudicators had a tough task sifting through the more than 8,000 nominations submitted by South Africans throughout the country to determine the final and deserving beneficiaries of the 2023 campaign,” said van der Riet.

The 2023 Road to Literacy campaign saw a phenomenal increase of 47% in nominations. Each trolley library contains 500 books, which is an increase from the 430 books per trolley in 2022. Each trolley library is valued at R50 000 making the total investment value for the 2023 initiative R13 million.

Commitment to support literacy

A recent global study in children’s reading ability put South Africa in the spotlight, when the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS) ranked South Africa last out of the 57 countries assessed. In 2021, the study tested the reading ability of 400 000 students globally and showed that 81% of South African children could not read for comprehension in any of the country’s 11 official languages.

As part of AVBOB’s ongoing commitment to support literacy, van der Riet explained that the AVBOB Road To Literacy campaign with OUP and the government is a critical collaboration in response to a pervasive need in schools and society.

In her keynote address, Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga said: “This campaign is a crucial step in our journey to instill a culture of reading and enhance the numeracy skills of primary school children across our beloved country. I am particularly delighted to share that this year’s campaign places special emphasis on reading resources in mother tongue languages. Extensive research has shown that teaching in a child’s mother tongue language reduces dropout rates and makes education more accessible and engaging.”

“Moreover, we recognise the critical importance of developing numeracy skills during a child’s formative years. Together, let us ignite a love for reading, strengthen numeracy skills and empower our children to reach new heights of knowledge and achievement,” Motshekga concluded.

Pieterse emphasised that the global University Press, which publishes in more than 70 languages and in close to 200 countries globally, believes that partnerships with like-minded organisations are essential to realise its vision to positively impact the lives of millions of learners anytime, anywhere.

“Our collaboration with AVBOB is one such example where our shared value and mutual vision have strengthened our relationship and delivered the Road To Literacy campaign that drives this vision with a profound impact after only two consecutive years of running it,” said Pieterse.

Photo shows (left to right): Kebo Mosweusweu, General Manager: Shared Value and Sustainability, AVBOB; Hanri Pieterse, Managing Director, Oxford University Press Southern Africa; Angie Motshekga, Basic Education Minister for South Africa; and Carl van der Riet, CEO, AVBOB.

OUPSA Managing Director, Hanri Pieterse closed the event thanking everyone for their support and highlighted the importance of literacy: “Giving children the gift of reading is an invaluable direct investment in the future of every child in South Africa.” 

OUP’s National Manager, Lucia Ndabula also spoke about the importance of literacy in the language that is meaningful to them, their mother tongue.

Keynote speaker, Angie Motshekga, Minister of Basic Education also delivered her valuable insights.

You can watch the full event on our YouTube channel:

#RTL2023 #Literacy #Reading #PIRLS

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