Monthly Archives: June 2021

Links I liked #31

  • Cool video: Every year the employees of Allan Gray (the bank) nominate and vote on NGOs that they would like funded as part of the Allan Gray Philanthropy Initiative. This year they developed two short videos explaining some of the SA educational context in visual essays. The first one is above and here.
  • Learning losses 1: Martin Gustafsson wrote a useful UIS report in March 2021 on “Pandemic-related disruptions to schooling and impacts onlearning proficiency indicators:A focus on the early grades
  • Learning losses 2: Cally Ardington has written a detailed and thorough report on learning losses as a result of the pandemic and school closures: “Across the reading tasks, learning losses were between 57-70% of a normal grade 2 year.” Importantly rotational time-tables (50% attendance) are still the reality in 70%+ of SA schools and so these learning losses continue to grow every day.
  • SA’s Planning Docs: In August 2020, the DBE published an updated version of their The Action Plan to 2024 – it’s a comprehensive 150-page document that has lots of useful statistics and analysis and sets out their plans for the next 5 years. It also makes it quite clear that early grade reading is now a top priority: “The plan reflects six priorities identified by the Council of Education Ministers (CEM) early in 2020. These priorities are: (1) Foundational skills of numeracy and literacy, especially reading…”. Look at it in conjunction with Presidency’s MTSF 2019-2024 which also states that one of the “Five Fundamental Goals of the next 10 years” is “(4) Our schools will have better educational outcomes and every 10-year-old will be able to read for meaning” (p.23) 🙂
  • Reading in SA: A collection of SA authors who contributed to the DBE’s benchmarking in Nguni Languages report have now published their work in IJED here: “Benchmarking oral reading fluency in the early grades in Nguni languages” well done Cally, Gabi, Lilli, Mpumi and Alicia!
  • Reading in the US: Great article showing how nearly half of US states have required (by law) that the science of reading must be used in teacher prep, training and assessment. The North Carolina 2021 law looks especially promising. There was also an interesting Economist article this month “American schools teach reading all wrong
  • Inequality & education in SA: Stephanie Allais and colleagues wrote an article for New Frame titled “Is Education the Answer to Inequality in SA?“, largely based on their 2019 “Rupturing or reinforcing inequality? the role of education in South Africa today” For some reason Stephanie and Yael didn’t send it to me then 🙂 I think there are some interesting points in the article but I don’t agree with their main conclusion that “[learning] outcomes will not change without changing widespread poverty.” But it warrants a more thorough response than just a blog post!
  • Jobs: The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation are looking for a “Program Officer – Cape Town, South Africa“, they’re doing lots of interesting work on reading, maths, tech, schools & higher-education in SA so apply if you’d like to work with them!
  • Editorials: Great New Frame article on Johannesburg: “South Africa’s largest city is a world city, the home of jazz, art, politics and insurgent popular aspirations. But it is in precipitous decline, making now the time to act.”  
  • Great French vaccination ad. Vive la France!
  • Also, just for lols Forbes from 2007…