Renault SA donates library to school

In celebration of Youth Month, Renault South Africa, in partnership with the Motus Imperial Trust, has donated a brand-new library and resource centre to the Mangwele Combined School in Diepkloof, Soweto.

23 Ren Bib1

The library, like two similar facilities donated earlier this year, is intended to promote literacy and a love of learning right from the primary stage of education.

The library donations by Renault have been specially designed for use in junior schools located in underprivileged areas. “We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate and empower our youth than by supporting them in their literacy journey from the very start,” says Shumani Tshifularo, Renault South Africa’s CEO.

The results of the most recent Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), just published, show that 81% of South Africa's Grade 4 children could not read for meaning in any language when the survey was conducted in 2021, almost the same proportion as in 2011.

Seen here are Ntando Simelane (Company Secretary and Head of Legal Council, Motus HO), Shumani Tshifularo (CEO Renault SA) and on the right Allen Magau (Principal of Mangwele Combined School).

More than 12 000 learners from 321 schools participated in the 2021 round of PIRLS, which is conducted every five years and, of the 57 countries and regions that participated, South Africa performed the worst.

While reading performance had undoubtedly been affected by the pandemic, with the national reading comprehension score having dropped from 78% in the 2017 survey, the problem has deep roots. Statistics published by the Western Cape Government in 2022 show that nearly 60% of households do not own a book for leisure reading and that only 14% of the population reads for pleasure. More notably, only 5% of adults read to their children.

“This means most children just don’t have an early exposure to books,” says Shumani, “which not only impacts their ability to comprehend the written word but compromises their cognitive and critical thinking skills in general. As the world around us becomes more digital, reading and these skills are critical as literacy is the gateway to full participation in the digital economy.

The plaque unveiled at the library.

“This is why we’ve partnered with the Motus Imperial Trust, which has established 64 libraries in schools since 2003 to bring this library to Mangwele, a primary school with 515 learners from Grade R to Grade 7.

The welcoming room is stocked with over 8 000 titles, all covered in clear plastic to protect them and provide many years of happy reading.

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