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International Literacy Day Seminar

08 September 2021
13:30 - 15:30

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International Literacy Day reminds us that literacy is a human right and the foundation of all learning. Being able to read and write is a source of empowerment and enables individuals to succeed academically and enter the workforce, as well as actively participate in society. Literacy enriches our lives and is linked to health and wellbeing outcomes. While global literacy rates continue to rise, literacy for all remains an unattained goal. Approximately 773 million adults worldwide remain illiterate and a further 250 million children are not acquiring basic literacy skills. This seminar, hosted by the Inclusive Education Development (IED) research programme, seeks to continue the conversation around literacy with a particular focus on the South African context.

The South African government has recognised illiteracy as a matter of concern for children, youth, and adults. Literacy development in South African is complicated, however, by the current language in education practices and differentiated educational opportunities, amongst other contextual factors. In order to attain the goal of national literacy, we must review lessons learnt and identify effective strategies to enhance literacy at all levels. This seminar provides a space for this discussion and aims to draw together knowledge and insights from a range of role players.


1. Associate Professor Kathleen Heugh, School of Communication, International Studies and Languages, University of South Australia.

2. Dr Karen Roux, Centre for Evaluation and Assessment, University of Pretoria

3. Dr Alude Mahali, Inclusive Economic Development research division, , Human Sciences Research Council