On the 15th of February the Centre for Evaluation and Assessment was represented at the launch of the National Reading Coalition by Dr Nelladee Palane. The PIRLS 2016 study conducted by the Centre brought attention to the dire need to address the reading crisis facing South Africa’s primary school learners when the study results were released in December 2017. The National Education Collaboration Trust (NECT) together with the Department of Education’s Read to Lead campaign established the National Reading Coalition (NRC) which aims to improve coordination amongst various stakeholders to reduce inefficient overlaps and gaps in the numerous forms of support for reading, promote the adoption of approaches that have evidence of success and increase the opportunities for economies of scale. Minister Angie Motshekga re-iterated in her address at the launch held at the Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre that the country is in a state of emergency with regard to the reading challenge.
The coalition plans to implement interventions relating to the following six areas critical in the improvement of reading: initial teacher preparation; access to relevant resources; continuing professional development; community support; policy; research and evaluation. Dr Surette van Staden, Director of the CEA, is on the committee spearheading the interventions in the area of research and evaluation.