Reaffirming its commitment to eradicating illiteracy at primary school level, Volkswagen Group South Africa (VWSA) opened three new Literacy Centres at schools across KwaNobuhle in Uitenhage.
The official opening on Friday morning, which was attended by the provincial Department of Education’s Superintendent General Themba Kojana and Nelson Mandela District Director Ernest Gorgonzola, took place at the Noninzi Luzipho Primary School, where one of the centres is housed.
The other two centres are housed at the James Ntungwana Primary School and Vuba Primary School. The new centres – along with the existing centres at Ntlemeza Primary and Mngcunube Primary School – are aimed at achieving a unified goal: ensuring functional literacy for every learner under the age of 10 years. VWSA has invested R2 million to date in these centres, to fund the building of the centres and the books needed in daily operations.
“It is a known fact that education is one of the main challenges facing our country,” said Thomas Schaefer, Volkswagen Group South Africa Chairman and Managing Director. “A research study conducted by Dr Nic Spaull found that more than 60% of South African children cannot read for meaning by the end of Grade 3. As a caring and responsible corporate citizen that always puts its people first, VWSA decided to establish a programme that will ensure that all learners in Uitenhage are functionally literate by the time they reach Grade 3.”
To support this goal, Old Mutual has also donated books to the value of R180 000 to date for the five centres.
Speaking at the launch, Kojana praised VWSA for its work in improving education in the province. “Reading is a culture and you’ve planted a seed that we as the Department must nourish,” said Kojana. “We are looking into the model of these centres and will work closely with you going forward. We are here to nurture our partnership. To us, this is a fundamental project, because you are investing in the human mind and the future of our children.”
The new Literacy Centres are in line with the focus areas of Volkswagen’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives which include Education and Youth Development. Volkswagen established its first Legacy Literacy Centre at Ntlemeza Primary in 2017, followed by the Mngcunube Primary Literacy Centre in 2018. The company also supports Funda Wande, a non-profit organisation aimed at training educators to teach primary school learners to read with understanding.
“Nearly 3 300 learners will benefit from the various interventions of the Legacy Literacy programme. Today’s opening of these three Legacy Literacy Centres exemplifies Volkswagen’s commitment to establishing corporate social responsibility programmes that have impact and meaning on the lives of our people,” concluded Schaefer.