16 February 2007
The Netherlands has contributed about R70-million towards a five-year research programme tackling the challenges of teaching language and numeracy in South Africa’s schools.
Dutch ambassador to South Africa Frans Engering and Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) president Olive Shisana signed an agreement on the programme in Pretoria last month.
“This agreement is a new and important part of the substantial contribution by the Netherlands government to promote education in South Africa, which has amounted to approximately R1.3-billion since 1994,” Engering said.
The programme aims to help the Department of Education to identify and address the challenges impeding the provision of quality education to children, especially in poorer and rural areas.
“To date there has not been much improvement in the quality of education, despite various efforts at improvement in the past decade,” Shisana said, referring to the 66.6% matric pass rate in 2006, down from 68% in 2005.
The programme, to be led by the HSRC, will rope in JET Education Services, the Education Policy Consortium and the Project for the Study of Alternative Education in SA, the leading experts in literacy and numeracy research in the country.