Wind farms fund programme to improve Loeriesfontein learner's literacy levels
Loeriesfontein wind farm and Khobab wind farm are funding a literacy programme aimed at helping local Loeriesfontein primary school learners to improve their reading and spelling levels. This 'Learn–Ready Literacy Programme' is being implemented in Loeriesfontein Primary School and TNJ van der Walt Primary School Grade 2 to Grade 5 as well as Grade 8 at Loeriesfontein High School. This educational programme is being implemented in partnerships with the National Department of Basic Education and the various provincial departments. The renewable energy projects are working with Spell-It South Africa, who has appointed two previously unemployed community members who have been chosen for their language and teaching aptitudes. They have completed in-depth training, which will continue, to ensure that they can provide assistance to both the Primary School and High School in the roll-out and execution of this programme over a three year period, all aimed at improving the literacy levels at respective schools. This programme is ideally focused on basic literacy in the foundation phase, in line with international research that has shown this to be a critical transition period, when learners move from the ‘learning to read’ phase into the ‘reading to learn’ phase. Learners who are literate at Grade 4 Level are 80% more likely to complete matric and be functionally literate for tertiary education and later employment. This programme, which has impacted over 350 000 primary school children since 2010, consists of three components, namely: The Vocabulary Assistance Programme (VAP); Teacher Training and Capacity Building; and Spelling Bee Competitions. The VAP is a step-by-step, fun series of card games, age-appropriate stories and interactive activities that assist learners to build on their existing knowledge while brushing up on the fundamentals of phonetics, spelling rules and word structure. The content is CAPS-aligned and gives educators exciting activities to do with their learners in the classroom, while covering the required content to get learners spelling at their Grade level. The wind farms views their investment in education as a powerful platform through which the lives of ordinary community members can be positively impacted over the long term, as quality education allows individuals to increased access to better socio-economic opportunities.