Education MEC, Panyaza Lesufi has criticised watching soapies and encouraged school children and parents to read instead of watching people kissing on TV.
“We want to target and disrupt soapies on TV. We must embrace reading. There is no need for children to be glued to TV screens, watching people kiss,” he said.
Lesufi was speaking at the official launch of, Drop all and Read, which was held at Saxonwold Primary School on 9 September. The campaign was spearheaded by the National Department of Basic Eduction with the aim of cultivating a culture of reading. Pupils, teachers and community members are encouraged to spend time on recreational reading activities. “Gauteng will be a leader in this campaign,” Lesufi stated proudly.
The launch was attended by different schools within the Johannesburg East District. The MEC urged parents to read to and with their children and also encouraged pupils to read. “If you don’t read, those who read will lead. We want to urge you to be leaders who can read. You can’t be a minister of finance if you can’t read and count,” he reiterated.
District director Johannesburg Schools, Mnyamezeli Ndevu committed that schools in his district will set aside 50 minutes daily and dedicate it to reading, Ndevu also acknowledged that there is a lot of knowledge that can be found through reading.
Representing the National Department of Basic Education, Metsi Ramohola shared a shocking and alarming statistic that he said needs to change urgently. “Only 14 percent of South Africans read books. This is a social call to all in society to set aside time daily and read.”
Charmaine Smith, who was the programme director, highlighted that children who read for pleasure had a greater chance of performing well academically. Dr Mathole Motshekga, the African National Congress’ chief whip and member of the ANC’s Department of Legal and Constitutional Affairs, delivered a motivational talk on the importance of reading. His main message was for parents to take control and to play a role in educating their children. “Society has changed so much that children rely on their teachers for information. Where are the parents? What are they doing?” he asked. Motshekga told pupils that most of the questions they have about life and society, in general, would be answered if they read books.
Lesufi applauded Saxonwold Primary School for doing a sterling job in keeping the 80-year-old school in great condition. He also appreciated efforts by the school in promoting diversity. While demonstrating how reading can be made fun, pupils from the school read in different South African languages and the school choir was dressed in various African attire.
Lesufi also mentioned that from next year, all Grade 1 pupils in Gauteng will read at least one African language in school.
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