Soweto school girl beats 20 000 learners in competition aimed at improving primary school literacy levels.07 November 2015
The ten year old Grade 5 learner from Luyolo Primary School in Emdeni South, Soweto, beat 25 finalists in a nail-biting final held on Saturday morning, winning a R200 000 scholarship from Monash university and a R1,000 cash prize.
“I am over the moon!” said her mother, Zandile Vilakazi, who explained her daughter has always had a love of reading. “She loves going to the library and doesn’t fall asleep at night without reading a book.”
The Spell It Challenge is a regional competition run by the caring bank in onjunction with Spell It South Africa, the Gauteng Department of Education and Monash University and acknowledges the importance of literacy to enable our country and its future leaders.
Lindiwe Temba, Nedbank Divisional Executive for Corporate Social Responsibility, said literacy forms part of an important pillar in the bank’s education CSR strategy.“Spelling aids in reading – allowing one to discover the wonders of the world through words. It assists in shaping confidence and in building a knowledge-based economy. As such, we believe that literacy building can be a catalyst for sustainable socio-economic transformation in communities that we serve.”
Nedbank provides spelling coaches to partner schools in the Gauteng province to ensure that learners are given an opportunity to achieve a good level of English literacy before they graduate to high school.
The coach supports teachers by facilitating games and other activities which teach phonics, word and letter recognition as well as vocabulary acquisition.
Over the years, Spell It South Africa has impacted the lives of over 150 000 primary school learners. Spell IT founder Roger Dickinson also thanked Nedbank for enabling the program to expand its reach with 200 schools in Gauteng alone.
“From Grade One to Grade Four you learn to read, and from Grade Four onwards you read to learn. If you don’t get that right, you have problems. Our children want to learn and they need to be given the opportunity to excel in learning – that is what our partnership is about.”
The 25 finalists were selected from over 20 000 learners at close to 200 schools in the province. With the challenge running over four rounds, Vilakazi was the only finalist to be able to correctly spell the word “handkerchief” in the last round.
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