Despite efforts to implement recovery plans, researchers found that one year of study was lost in reading, Basic Education Minister Angie Motsekga said on Wednesday.

Motshega spoke at a mini-plenum of the National Assembly to provide information on the department’s progress, as well as to outline voting priorities for next year’s budget.

Motshekga said she asked the department’s researchers to analyze the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the basic education system.

“Researchers agree that the focus of our sector is learning, and at the heart of improving learning is improving reading in the lower grades.

“They report that prior to COVID-19, we saw progress in children’s reading skills.

“According to a study of the International Reading Literacy Survey (PIRLS), reading in 4th grade improved significantly between 2006 and 2016.

However, according to Professor Martin Gustafson, the study found that by the end of 2021, the average 4th grader could read the same way as the average 3rd grader before the pandemic.

“So there was a loss of one year of study.

“In other words, we have rolled back in terms of PIRLS progress for several years.

“These losses are similar to those witnessed around the world,” she said.