Title page for ETD etd-03102005-124313

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Sibiya, Hlengana Solomon
Email ssibiya@telkomsa.net
URN etd-03102005-124313
Document Title A strategy for alleviating illiteracy in South Africa: A historical inquiry
Degree PhD (Curriculum Studies)
Department Curriculum Studies
Advisor Name Title
Prof L van Rooyen
  • adult basic education
  • adult basic education and training
  • alleviation
  • blacks
  • literacy
Date 2005-01-09
Availability unrestricted
Illiteracy among black adults in South Africa has reached levels unacceptable for economic development in the country. The problem of illiteracy prevents adults and youth from contributing effectively and meaningfully to the social, economic and political life of the new democratic South Africa. As a result of the political change in South Africa, there is a growing awareness of the need to provide adult basic education and training to everyone who has had very limited schooling because of socio-economic problems largely attributable to the legacy of apartheid. The goal of the then Government of National Unity was to ensure that all individuals received at least a minimum level of education as a matter of basic human rights as enshrined in the Constitution.

The main research problem of the study is, What would be a suitable strategy to alleviate the high rate of illiteracy among blacks in South Africa? From the literature study a mass literacy campaign was particularly identified as a suitable strategy for the alleviation of illiteracy among blacks in South Africa. It was therefore important to provide guidelines, which could facilitate successful implementation of a mass literacy campaign. The research underpinning this study in South Africa has revealed that it is not enough to embark on a mass national literacy campaign to alleviate illiteracy. A campaign, which does not address the social ills characteristically associated with people who are illiterate cannot be termed successful.

This study has demonstrated that shortcomings in the formal education system, insufficient state commitment, inadequate funding and a lack of provision of other resources, not enough co-operation and co-ordination amongst the various providers of adult basic education and training and lack of universal primary school education are some of the main causes of illiteracy. These problems cannot be ameliorated by a mass literacy campaign.

The high incidence of illiteracy in South Africa calls for a comprehensive approach to the social, economic and civil relationships in the country: the universalisation of primary school education and early childhood development programmes, serious government commitment and strong partnerships would be a good foundation for success. The alleviation of illiteracy requires an iron political will and national mobilisation of the masses to support a mass literacy campaign.

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