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Stellenbosch Policy Brief No. 01/2012

Despite positive trends in completion rates and Grade R enrolment, staggering numbers of South African learners continue to lack basic literacy and numeracy skills.

Research based on the SACMEQ III Grade 6 reading, maths and health survey (2007) shows that South African learners perform poorly, both in terms of their own curricular standards, and when compared to regional benchmarks.

The survey tested the literacy and numeracy skills of learners in 14 African countries. Recent research by Nicholas Spaull at Stellenbosch University analysed and compared test results for four of them: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Mozambique.