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CEO of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation joins the 2030 Reading Panel

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CEO of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation joins the 2030 Reading Panel

Judy Sikuza, CEO of the Mandela Rhodes Foundation, assumes a pivotal role as a panellist on the 2030 Reading Panel, recognising the critical importance of literacy for personal, economic, and political development.

Published 13 February 2024

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Disturbing figures from the 2016 PIRLS report underscore the pressing issue, revealing that 81% of grade 4 learners in South Africa struggle with reading comprehension. Despite some progress, achieving universal literacy appears elusive, with projections extending to 2098.

The repercussions of insufficient literacy are profound—persistent hunger, economic stagnation, and escalating youth unemployment pose substantial threats to the nation. Urgent action is essential.

Addressing the urgency and identified gaps, the establishment of the Reading Panel represents a crucial step. This non-political initiative, chaired by Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, aims to evaluate progress toward universal literacy by 2030. Convening annually until 2030, the Panel will scrutinize government plans, emphasising successes, challenges, and budget allocations for reading reforms.

By adopting a comprehensive, long-term perspective and focusing efforts on reading for meaning, the Panel seeks to amplify the importance of early-grade reading. Its annual meetings will benchmark the country’s progress, providing an objective evaluation. Given the authority of its members, the Panel's reports are expected to wield significant influence with the public, Parliament, the Presidency, and the Department of Basic Education.

For more information on the 2030 Reading Panel, visit

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