New online resource helps companies meet the need to read

A free knowledge hub aims to improve corporate social investment (CSI) in functional literacy during the school foundation phase.

Millions of South African youngsters are unable to read fluently or with understanding, which restricts their progress in school and their future work opportunities. However, a free online resource is now available to help corporates and philanthropists to start addressing this crisis.

The resource is known as the Trialogue Knowledge Hub, and it includes a comprehensive section on functional literacy in the school foundation phase. Support includes examples of best practice projects, case studies and research papers so that others can inform themselves and develop or improve their own literacy projects and programmes.

“According to the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2016, well over half of the learners in our public school system are unable to read fluently and with understanding by the time they are 10 years old,” said Nick Rockey, MD of leading CSI consultancy Trialogue.

“We are, however, aware of many organisations and individuals that have made a difference in under-resourced schools and communities. They are eager to share their research and lessons learnt, so we have gathered information from a wide range of sources to make them easily accessible in one location. We hope that the Knowledge Hub will inform others so that they can invest their time and resources optimally.”

Rockey said the aim was to illustrate why literacy is important, showcase examples of investments that have been made and the resulting impact, and encourage more corporate and philanthropic investment in this subject.

“Ultimately the hub aims to improve and strengthen CSI in the development sector by enabling companies and philanthropists to build on existing work ‒ which they can easily access on the hub ‒ rather than re-invent the wheel as many foundations and CSI departments do.”

This topic on the Trialogue Knowledge Hub is sponsored by Volkswagen, which shares its experiences from its VW for Good literacy programme. Started in 2015, its goal is for all learners in Uitenhage to be functionally literate by the time they reach the age of ten, or grade three.