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The objectives of SIRP

SIRP's objectives are elaborations of the more general objectives of PrimTEd's Literacy Working Group, namely:

  • To describe primary school teachers' required content knowledge and pedagogic content knowledge and applied knowledge towards developing children's literacy levels in South African Languages.
  • To identify strategies for teaching reading in African languages. This will include identifying strategies that will inform how to teach learners to decode text, to read fast and fluently and accurately and with proper intonation (at a rate appropriate to their grade), with meaning and for pleasure.
  • Describe suitable methods of teaching reading for enjoyment and as a learning tool for the learners in their Home language and their First Additional language.
  • Describe suitable methods of teaching for teaching writing in learners’ Home language and their First Additional language
  • To describe what university lecturers need to know about literacy and its instruction in South Africa's languages in order to help educate teachers to assist learners in achieving the required literacy standards in all our languages.
  • Generally, through the activities of the Working Group within the PrimTEd project as a whole build a cohesive community of practice in the Higher Education Institutions involved around the training of language and literacy teachers.


Institutional location

SIRP is housed by the Centre for African Language Teaching (CALT@UJ) at the University of Johannesburg which was set as one of the Department of Higher Education and Training funded initiatives to support African language teaching in South Africa. The JET Education Services provides project management support to SIRP.


The SIRP work plan

The work plan includes nine major tasks:

  1. To prepare for empirical research to determine the present state of the teaching of reading at the twelve Higher Education Institutions training Sesotho and isiZulu teachers;
  2. Identify and liaise with other stakeholders in the field of early language literacy;
  3. Conduct empirical research to determine the present state of reading training at the twelve HEIs that train Sesotho and isiZulu teachers and draft a report;
  4. Develop, standardize and conventionalize terminology needed for the teaching of reading at Foundation and Intermediate Phase levels;
  5. Arrange a conference to introduce the project to stakeholder institutions and reach consensus on the six core study units (modules) to be developed to facilitate reading development;
  6. Review and align the SIRP work with the curriculum frameworks and knowledge and practice standards developed by PrimTEd Literacy Working Group;
  7. Develop the content of the agreed six study units essential for developing reading for both Sesotho and isiZulu;
  8. Train HEI lecturers to offer the study units developed;
  9. Offer institutional support for the curriculum review, obtaining approval and implementation of the newly developed study units on reading.

The work plan has three main components:

The first is to establish the state of teaching reading at those HEIs that train Sesotho and isiZulu Foundation Phase teachers in their Bachelor of Education programmes.

The second is to identify and develop key study units and learning materials focusing on teaching reading in Sesotho and isiZulu to be implemented in the BEd programmes of the participating HEIs.

The third component is the development and standardizing of Sesotho and isiZulu terminology needed for teaching at Foundation Phase and Intermediate Phase levels of schooling.


The SIRP project will collaborate closely with the DHET and DBE, the HEIs that offer education to Sesotho and isiZulu student teachers and all other institutions and initiatives in the field of basic language literacy development.


The SIRP HEI Research Report

SIRP undertook a survey of the teaching of Sesotho and IsiZulu at a number of Higher Education Institutions.

SIRP HEI Research report 2019

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