10 September 2018

South Africa: Literacy - You Just Can't Fake It

analysis

In South Africa about 80 percent of children can't read properly after four years of full-time schooling and we are told that we must be devoting more time and resources to teaching them to collaborate? Or think critically? Or to code? But... They. Can't. Read.

In 1837 Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story about a vain emperor who appoints two weavers (who turn out to be con men) to make him a fabulous new garment. As the story goes, the weavers promise to make it from "wonderful cloth" that "would be invisible to everyone who was unfit for the job he held, or who was very simple in character".

Slightly afraid that he would not be able to see the cloth himself, the emperor sends his wisest men to first observe the weavers at work and report back to him what they find. One after the next, the wise men and courtiers go to the see the con men diligently working at empty looms and sewing imaginary cloth with their needles, but the wise men proclaim their admiration out of fear that they will be exposed as stupid or incompetent, each praising the work more loudly...

South Africa

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