Library Project

Ulwazi - meaning Knowledge in IsiXhosa - is one of the most fundamental focuses of the Unako. Our primary objective is to improve the low level of literacy in township schools and encourage a culture of reading in our communities. This is done by establishing literacy clubs and reviving libraries in schools. A functional library in a school that provides a safe and conducive space for learning even afterschool is known to have the potential of improving the pass rate of any particular school. 
In a major international study for instance, researchers concluded that all other things being equal, student performance shows an increase between 10% and 25% when a stocked, staffed and fully funded library is in operation within a school. It is of course no secret that official surveys have revealed that South Africa’s learner outcomes rank poorly on the international stage, not only compared with learners from developed countries, but even among those from less-developed parts of sub-Saharan Africa. 
At the root of this problem lies the issue of illiteracy which Unako believes can be combated by, among other things, ensuring that every public school within the township has a stocked library serviced by a qualified full-time librarian, trained library assistants and reading programmes. 
Additionally, research conducted by Unako’s Literacy Researcher (2016) on the primary and high schools that are part of the Literacy Clubs programme run by Unako reveals that learners have a high interest in reading that is often influenced by having the right kind of reading material that is; age appropriate, thematically relevant and speaks to their socio-environmental contexts. Equally, their teachers agree that their schools do not provide enough reading material for learners that is suitable to attract learners and encourage them to read. As such, libraries within the schools would assist with this deficit. A majority of primary school learners select storybooks as their preferred reading material, whilst fiction and comic books appeal to high schoolers, which gives us an idea of the recreational reading material that such libraries should provide. Outside the school and home, the library space was said to be the most common and favoured reading and learning space among both high school and primary school learners. And finally, libraries have also been found to be a cost-effective method of improving learning outcomes in a space conducive to learning. 3 Library Revival Project | 2018-2020