Emeritus Professor John Aitchison, University of KwaZulu-Natal

A report published in December 2017 revealed that 78% of Grade 4 South African learners cannot read for meaning in their home language. This finding is a profound judgement on our whole education system. The four lectures of this course look at the causes of this reading catastrophe and its consequences, the factors that are inhibiting any change in the situation, the debates about the nature of learning and reading, and positive initiatives that could and are dealing with the problem.



LECTURE TITLES (Click on the lecture title to see the slides)


  1. Reading outcomes in South Africa: a case of cognitive genocide or click here for a pdf.
  2. What we know about reading: the end of the reading wars or click here for a pdf.
  3. Why we fail to teach reading: a cascade of policy and practice catastrophes or click here for a pdf.
  4. What can be done about it: from reading coalitions to PrimTEd or click here for a pdf.





Date: Monday 6–Thursday 9 January
Time: 9.15 am 
COURSE FEES: Full R472 Staff & Students R236
Venue: LT1 Kramer Law Building UCT