The Asifunde! project began in response to the September 2000 call for a literacy campaign by then Minister for Education, Kader Asmal. It was a joint initiative of the Centre for Adult Education, other member organisations of the KwaZulu-Natal ABET Consortium and the South African Institute for Distance Education (SAIDE). It was funded by Department for International Development (DFID), UK. The project developed a basic literacy course for adults, in isiZulu and in Sesotho sa Leboa (Pedi/Northern Sotho)
The Asifunde! materials consist of a Learners Workbook (Zulu and Northern Sotho versions), a writing book for learners who need extra practice, an Educator’s Guide (in Zulu, Pedi/Northern Sotho and English versions), a set of placement tests, an Educator’s Course, a Co-ordinator’s Course, a set of administration forms and a set of ten readers in each of the languages.
The Learner’s Workbook is designed for learners to work through at their own pace and to take them from their first encounter with print in their mother tongue to a point where they can use newly developed literacy skills in a range of situations outside the classroom. It includes exercises in which the use of the literacy and numeracy skills they have learnt is simulated in a range of everyday contexts such as reading notices, writing letters, completing forms, comparing prices and resisting being coerced into signing a detrimental agreement.
The Educator’s Guide does not assume expertise on the part of educators and offers step by step instructions for every page in the Learner’s Workbook. Both the Learner’s Workbook and the Educator’s Guide are copyright free for non-profit purposes.
The Zulu Learner Workbook and Educator Guide were revised and expanded in 2004.
The Zulu readers were all in existence before the start of the Asifunde! project, but there were only four suitable readers in Northern Sotho and six others were developed specifically for this project by the New Readers Project. The readers range in difficulty and include a dual language book published by the Centre for Adult Education and available in English/Zulu and English/ Pedi ( Northern Sotho) versions.
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