Book boost for kids who speak an African language

IN IMPROVING the quality of education in Grade R to Grade 3 learners in rural areas, UNIVERSITY of Fort Hare (UFH) professors Brian Ramadiro and Kimberley Porteus launched their book Foundation Phase Matters at the Miriam Makeba Art Centre in Quigney, East London last week.

BOOK LAUNCH: Authors Kimberley Porteus and Brian Ramadiro with University of Fort Hare Vice-Chancelor Sakhela Buhlungu, centre, at their book launch at the Miriam Makeba Art Centre in Quigney, East London recently Picture: SIPHOKAZI VUSO

Porteus is  executive director of The Nelson Mandela Institute (NMI) for Education and Rural Development while Ramadiro is its deputy director.

According to Porteus, the book serves as a tool to understand how the quality of education as it concerns  IsiXhosa and  children who speak African languages in the foundation phase can be improved.

“One of the things we were focusing on was that the majority of children who speak isiXhosa and other  African languages are not learning to read well by the end of Grade 3, which then disadvantages them for the rest of their educational career,” she said.

Porteus said there was a lack of educational tools that focused on the  child who speaks an African language.

“We found that the way teachers are approaching African language based reading from Grade R to Grade 3 has not been developed well.  We have not yet built the tools that focus on the African-language speaking child,” she said.

The launch was well attended by UFH students,  Faculty of Education lecturers as well as the university’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sakhela Buhlungu and Faculty of Education Dean, Professor George Moya.

Moya said the book was based on years of research in the rural Transkei, looking at issues of literacy, numeracy and how teachers work in disadvantaged  areas.

After working and teaching in rural schools for the past 10 years, the authors said they found shocking findings that the majority of children in public schools were facing extremely difficulties with the lack of resources and teaching projects that had not been developed.

The book is available from the UFH Education Faculty. For more information contact Bomikazi Njoloza: (043) 704-7235 or e-mail:





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