LITERACY

Improving literacy and learning

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The 9th Pan-African Literacy for All and 10th Reading Association of South Africa (RASA)  National Literacy Conference, sponsored by Oxford University Press, will be held at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town between the 2 and 5 September.

Hosting some of the brightest minds in literacy, under the theme Imagination and Literacy: Theory and Practice the conference will showcase research, practice and innovative literacy strategies that imaginatively engage literacy development across Africa.

“This is the first time that South Africa will be hosting the Pan-African Literacy for All Conference and we are looking forward to engaging with leading experts in the field of literacy,” says Karin Murris, Chair of the RASA/Pan-African 2015 Literacy Conference Committee. “The conference will provide the theoretical and practical ideas needed to bring more imagination into teaching literacy and the ideas around how to make learning more engaging.”

For the first three days the conference will unpack academic papers on literacy and classroom practice through talks and workshops aimed at teachers, teacher educators, writers, librarians, researchers, academics, publishers, as well as local and international development workers. On Saturday the 5th of September, this free day invites the public to ignite their imaginations through a series of practical sessions, stalls and installations focused on literacy.

Keynote speakers will include International Literacy Association Director Marcie Craig Post, South African activist and storyteller Gcina Mhlophe, research professors Barbara Comber (Australia), Viv Edwards (UK) and Kieran Egan (Canada), as well as principal of the St Mary’s Junior School in Waverley, Johannesburg, Desiree Hugo.

Pan-African Literacy for All conferences, are important literacy events in Africa, providing a platform for literacy professionals and researchers to engage with policy makers in government and the donor community. The conferences have taken place bi-annually since 1999 in countries including Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Swaziland and Uganda.

This year’s event will be run in association with the International Literacy Association (ILA) and the International Development Committee-Africa (IDC-A). It will be organised by RASA—a leading South African literacy organisation which regularly organises conferences that draw together most of the South African experts on literacy.

Oxford University Press is sponsoring the event in line with its commitment to education in Africa.

“Reading is the fundamental building block of our society and this conference gives us the opportunity to keep the conversation around literacy strong, makinga difference to education across the African continent,” says Lieze Kotze, African Regional Director for Oxford University Press.

“Besides engaging with academics and educators, we want to encourage community involvement and invite the public to attend the free session on Saturday to experience how the world of literacy can be unlocked through the power of imagination.”

The conference will include topics such as new ways of thinking about the power of imagination and creativity for young and old readers and writers, research and experiences about igniting imagination in literacy development, literacy as pleasure and play and infusing ideas about imagination and literacy into networks and frameworks for development.

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