Over 60 percent of pupils in grade one to grade four are unable to read and write in Kitwe district, Copperbelt Province Education Officer (PEO) Felix Ngoma has disclosed.
Mr. Ngoma said there was therefore urgent need to uplift literate levels in schools because the lower primary level is the foundation of education that has great impact on the performance of the pupils at secondary school level.
He said the provincial office has since devised a strategic plan to address illiteracy levels in schools.
He said the strategy is aimed at ensuring that grade one pupils know how to read and write properly before they go into grade two.
Mr. Ngoma, who was speaking at the teachers’ stakeholders meeting, stated that the programme will be extended to grade two classes.
He explained that the programme will involve training of grade one and two teachers so that they apply the teaching strategy that has been devised to ensure that pupils in the first grade know how to read before they go into grade two.
And Mr. Ngoma has disclosed that the provincial education office has set performance standards that teachers should observe to ensure that all schools begin to register a 100 per cent pass rate by the year 2021.
He said among the interventions put to achieve this include the requirement for teachers to conduct tests every month, the requirement for head teachers and their deputies to have classes, re-training of grade one teachers as well as training teachers in leadership and management skills among others.
And Kitwe District Commissioner (DC) Binwell Mpundu, who also attended the teachers’ stakeholders meeting, said his office will be conducting tours to schools to monitor teachers’ performance so that the general performance of pupils is improved in the district.
Mr. Mpundu also pledged to sponsor pupils with outstanding performance in selected schools in order to motivate them to work extra hard.
And speaking earlier, Kitwe District Education Officer (DEO) Allan Kaoma said his office has put improvement of literacy levels a priority.
Mr. Kaoma said the importance of literacy cannot be over-emphasized as it greatly contributes to the social and economic development of a country.
He pledged that by the end of the current term, 90 per cent of pupils in grade one will be able to read after the implementation of the newly devised strategy to improve literacy levels.
Meanwhile Parklands, Chibote and St. Francis Secondary Schools have won awards for outstanding results in the 2017 examinations.