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Let us learn

Written by Samona Murugan

Education empowers

Kha Ri Gude means “let us learn” in Tshivenda. It is also the name of a mass literacy campaign that aims to teach 4,7 million adults above the age of 15 years to become literate and numerate. Since 2008, the campaign has helped to create about 75 000 short-term jobs by equipping almost a million learners with literacy skills.

Kha Ri Gude is a government programme that teaches adults to read, write and calculate in their mother tongue and to learn spoken English. The programme plays a major role in easing poverty by equipping illiterate adults with skills to help them find jobs. It also provides volunteer teachers from the poorest communities with a small income for teaching the classes.

Who can attend?

Kha Ri Gude is available to all adults, as well as young people over the age of 15 who have little or no education. Learning materials have been specifically designed to teach reading, writing and numeracy and include themes and life skills. It has also been adapted for use in Braille in eleven languages, and for use by the deaf.

Who are the teachers?

The programme uses volunteer teachers. They are usually from poor communities and earn a small income for their services. They get support from supervisors who, in turn, get support from coordinators. Volunteers also help to raise awareness of the programme.

What does it cost and where are classes held?

Classes are free wherever there are groups of about 15 people who want to attend. They are held in communities at times that suit the learners and at places that are easy to reach. It can be at community centres, church halls, private homes or even in prisons.

How long does it take?

Learners are required to commit themselves to attend classes for 240 hours over a period of about six months. Classes take place three times a week and learners are urged to attend all the classes regularly to graduate.

Will I get a certificate?

Kha Ri Gude is a Department of Education programme and the department will give certificates to people who successfully finish the programme.

What about vulnerable groups?

The Kha Ri Gude Campaign makes specific efforts to target vulnerable groups. These include illiterate women and youth, people with disabilities and people older than 60. Currently, 80 per cent of the learners are women, eight per cent are disabled, 25 per cent are youth and 20 per cent are above the age of 60.

Kha Ri Gude provides blind learners with a range of learning materials including Braille boards (writing boards) and Perkins Braillers (Braille typewriters) for use in class. Learner packs for the blind include a full set of materials in Braille and a talking calculator. The large-scale printing of Braille materials is made possible by Kha Ri Gude owning one of the two high-bulk printers available in South Africa.