S&F Adult Education Centre celebrates 21 years of promoting literacy
“We cannot continue to remain blind to South Africa’s literacy deficit; education is an indispensable necessity for empowerment and for people to participate in mainstream society. We must collectively, in the spirit of Ubuntu, endeavour to rid the nation of the darkness of illiteracy.”
This is according to Ms Sue Scott, HR Manager, Spoor & Fisher, one of the founders of the Spoor & Fisher Adult Education Centre.
The centre was founded in 1994 and championed by Spoor & Fisher, a specialist, full service international intellectual property law firm to address one of the most pernicious and pervasive legacies of apartheid - lack of access to formal education.
According to the 2012 General Household Survey (GHS) conducted by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) 7.1% of adults are illiterate.
“Adult illiteracy not only affects adults intellectually, emotionally and materially – it also has a knock-on effect on their families. Learning to read and write can generate positive effects that ripple through individuals, families, communities and society as a whole,” explains David Cochrane, Partner, Spoor & Fisher speaking at the graduation ceremony, hosted at the Lyttelton Manor Library where 25 of the centre’s adult learners were celebrated for their commitment and dedication towards becoming literate.
Realising that literacy skills would be fundamental to empowerment, nation building and informed decision-making in post democratic South Africa, Ms Scott and Robin Holton (General Manager at the time), established the adult literacy centre which has grown into an important learning hub for the community.
The centre provides tailored and appropriate skills to help learners meet their educational goals and when ready, encourages them to take the Independent Examination Board examinations in basic literacy. Some of the learners have gone to register for matric or college courses on passing the ABE Level 3. Learners who are unable to pass exams can stay on and continue learning.
Betty Masemola who was one of the centre’s earliest appointments now runs the centre as the Principal since 2000. The centre is managed jointly by Ms Scott and Ms Masemola ably supported by Nomsa Malaza, Tinyiko Chauke and Hendrik Makaneta who make up the teaching staff, all of who hold diplomas in Adult Basic Education and Training (ABET) from Pretoria University and UNISA.
“Success requires team work, and this journey would not have been possible without the dedicated efforts of the teachers, volunteers, partners and the staff at Spoor & Fisher,” Ms Scott adds. All members of the teaching staff have full-time day jobs in addition to being qualified in ABET and volunteer at the centre from 17:00 to 19:00 every evening. Approximately 20 to 30 learners attend classes at the centre each year and learners can choose Sepedi, isiZulu or English as the medium of instruction to learn at their own speeds.
“For over 21 years the centre has been a major force of change, uplifting and enriching communities by simply empowering them with the ability to read and write. We are steadfast in our resolve to raise the literacy level of adults so that they can contribute on the job, in the family, and in society,” Ms Scott says in conclusion.