Girls doing better than boys in languages at school

Boy reading a book. Photo: Pexels.

Girl pupils are doing better than their boy counterparts at languages and there is an improvement in African language literacy among primary school learners.

These are a few of the facts revealed by a recently released report by Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (Pirls).

“This report lets us pinpoint what some of the pertinent issues that South Africa struggle with are. What we may be doing differently compared to other countries around the world that will help us,” the Department of Basic Eduction (DBE) said in a statement.

The department highlighted the following observations from the report:

– The Grade 4s in 2016 achieved a similar score to what the Grade 5s achieved in 2006.

– At the Grade 5 level, there has been an improvement in IsiZulu between 2006 and 2016. This bodes well for the advancement of African languages.

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– There has been a significant improvement among Grade 4s in five African languages: IsiNdebele, Sepedi, Sesotho, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga.

– The scores of schoolgirls have been better than the boys, and the gap is widening with each test cycle.

– There are performance gains of first language learners at English schools

“We are a system at work with ongoing initiatives to strengthen foundations of learning in literacy,” the department said.

As part of the department’s effort to ensuring that children read, it has implemented the early grade reading study (EGRS), to promote reading.

“We are happy to report that this is yielding incredibly positive results that we are truly excited about,” said the department.

The EGRS was a control trial to determine which (if any) interventions improve early grade reading outcomes in home language (Setswana) in several schools in the North West and was implemented in 2015.



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