n Education as Change - Literacy and social justice

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Post-apartheid education policy reconceptualised and restructured the South African education system in an effort to reduce the historic inequalities, especially in schooling. Yet the provision remains sharply divided and education policy implementation is problematic. Assessing what social justice amounts to, in terms of what the curriculum delivers, is a challenge. Learners' literacy levels are important indicators of whether social justice policy aims are being met because English is the language of power in South Africa, even though it is the home language of less than 10% of the population. This paper provides evidence of Grade 7 learners' writing in two differently-resourced state schools. Key findings include that (1) the literacy practices at both schools privilege grammar at the expense of independent writing, which places the focus of language learning on accuracy of grammatical forms; (2) learners are in the consolidation phase, when they can write what they can already say (Kroll 1981); (3) learners wrote mainly personal, narrative texts and did very little factual writing.


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