Statement: JET responds to the 2021 PIRLS results

While the international average achievement for 10-year-olds across all participating countries was 500, South African learners scored a significantly low 288. According to the PIRLS benchmarks, learners who score below the benchmark of 400 points have not mastered the reading skills required to retrieve basic information from a text and answer simple questions, i.e. cannot read for meaning. Only 19% of the Grade 4 children tested in South Africa can read for meaning, with a significant number achieving scores even too low to be estimated. 

Considering that literacy is the foundation on which all learning is built, JET joins other originations, educators and educational researchers in a call for the South African government and specifically the Department of Basic Education, and even more importantly the Provincial Departments of Education, to take urgent steps to remedy this situation. Most urgent in this regard is the implementation of the National Reading Plan.

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JET Education Services, as the successor to the Joint Education Trust founded in 1992, is an independent, non-profit organisation that works with government, the private sector, international development agencies and education institutions to improve the quality of education and the relationship between education, skills development and the world of work. particularly for disadvantaged communities in South Africa and Africa.

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