South Africa

The partnership aims to develop and pilot innovative and scalable interventions to strengthen quality of reading and numeracy in early years of primary school in the poorest, most rural and remote areas of South Africa

  • Where
    Cape Town, South Africa
  • Focus area
    Education
  • Duration
    To be defined in 2019
  • Economy
    The Hempel Foundation: DKK 15 m
    UNICEF Denmark: DKK 7.5 m
Prime partner: UNICEF Denmark

The problem we aim to address

South Africa faces a severe reading crisis with up to 78% of Grade 4 learners in primary school not able to read with meaning, and 29% not able to read at all. Poor performance in primary school is reflected in secondary school where only 40% of children complete their final year of schooling.

Low education outcomes take on a geographic location and racial dimensions, with rural, township and farm schools doing worse than the urban schools, and schools in black and coloured communities performing significantly worse than schools in white areas. This is one of the reasons that today South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world and inequality has actually increased since the end of apartheid in 1994. Today, almost half of the population is considered chronically poor and high unemployment remains a key challenge, standing at 26.7% in the last quarter of 2017.

The partnership is based on a co-creation model where the specific areas of interventions and deliverables will be defined during a start-up workshop in South Africa during Q1 of 2019.

Our approach

The partnership aim to develop and pilot innovative and scalable interventions to strengthen quality of reading and numeracy in early years of primary school (the foundation phase, i.e. grades 1 – 3) to increase especially retention and learning outcomes of vulnerable children in rural areas of South Africa. 

Where

The Partnership will focus on rural areas and the exact project locations will be selected by UNICEF based on a pre-defined list of criteria i.e. the poorest, most rural and remote sectors, with indicators of significant gender disparity in education. Areas that are likely to be considered include North West, Eastern Cape, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.