CEO Update: 4 June 2018: TO STRIVE TO SEEK TO FIND AND NOT TO YIELD
Posted by Roger Dickinson on 04 June 2018 9:45 AM CAT
I will be starting a running blog - partly to keep our organisation and partners updated on the progress of Spell It South Africa.
But at more importantly to marshall my own thoughts and ideas around how we , as literacy organisation maximises our impact in our country and continent.
One of my favourite poems is Ulysses by Tennyson which ends with the words: TO STRIVE TO SEEK TO FIND AND NOT TO YIELD
TO STRIVE TO SEEK TO FIND AND NOT TO YIELD
The Tennyson poem is really about an old warrior deciding to put his old glories behind and moving onto the next stage of his life and the challenges that this will bring. I am not quite at the stage yet of qualifying as an 'old warrior' and neither is our 10 year old organisation.
What we do face however, is the seemingly impossible task of seeing every Grade 4 child in every public school in South Africa and ultimately Africa being 'learn ready literate'. This is Spell It's vision!
Learn ready literate means someone is able to read, spell and comprehend at 4th Grade level. We measure this through the Schonell spelling test and Oral Ready Fluency (speed) tests. Every 4th grade child should be able to read at over 100 words per minute in English to be able to keep up with the reading workload required from Grade 4 upwards.
The failings of our education systems to achieve this is well documented and lamented.
- 80% of our Grade 4s cannot read for understanding (PIRLS 2017)
- Two-thirds of South African Learners drop out of school by Grade 10
But this is not time for sadness, cyncism or depression!
This is time for action, innovation and collaboration!
We do not have a choice in this!
Every African child MUST be able to read at the same level as their counterparts in England or Australia or the USA.
We have not excuse. We have no choice in this matter.
Whether we hold ourselves accountanble to our God, the Universe or Humanity - we simply cannot allow the status quo to continue.
And that's where the words of the poem kick in
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.
We need to figure this out. We need to find the solutions. And we can never give up!