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    Wednesday, September 27, 2023

    Power of Literacy and the Strong Connection between Motor Skills and Academic Success

    BIC encourages communities and students to prioritize development of motor skills.

    Stemming from its commitment to improving learning conditions for 250 million students by 2025, BIC, a world leader in stationery, marks International Literacy Day as it sheds light on literacy's power and the strong connection between motor skills and achieving academic success. Based on research[1] by the Department of Social Development, it can be concluded that without motor skills, a child is unable to write, and without the ability to write, a child cannot read.

    South Africa has long been struggling with an ongoing literacy crisis that requires immediate attention and collaborative efforts to ensure students' success. Many factors, including undiagnosed learning disabilities, poverty, lack of resources, unavailability of role models or mentors, and inadequate motor skills, influence this pressing issue. The latter involves the inability to grasp pencils and pens, thus, the incapability to write and use scissors, amongst others. According to a study[2] carried out by a group of researchers from the Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy departments at Stellenbosch University, it has been found that inadequate motor skills play a significant role in hindering academic achievement. 

    South Africa's low literacy rate has been internationally recognized in the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study 2021[3]. The study tested the reading ability of 400,000 students globally and found that 81% of learners struggle to read by age 10. In addition, the findings, commissioned by the Department of Basic Education and conducted by the University of Pretoria, revealed that South Africa ranked last out of 57 countries assessed. A separate study[4] by the University of Cape Town found that lack of access to reading material and textbooks contributes to poor literacy. As a heritage brand in South Africa, BIC continues to support students and teachers by providing them with the necessary writing and drawing tools that help enhance their learning abilities. Research[5] by Zero Dropout also found that school dropout rates are directly connected to a lack of resources, including writing tools. By leveraging its product portfolio to contribute towards a solution, BIC has donated over 14 million writing tools to students across South Africa as part of its Buy a Pen, Donate A Pen campaign. 

    Commenting on the importance of literacy, Lilian Henderson, BIC's Marketing Director for Southern and Eastern Africa, says: "Literacy goes beyond the ability to read and write; it empowers individuals, strengthens communities, and drives economic growth. It is a fundamental human right that enables people to access information, express themselves, and participate fully in society. We must support our students and motivate parents to help their children when they struggle with reading and writing. We need to collaborate with businesses, organizations, individuals, and schools to provide the necessary resources for our future generation."

    BIC continues to support children and youth through ongoing education-focused initiatives. The current 4-Colour campaign encourages children to engage in hands-on activities that stimulate their fine motor skills. By providing quality writing instruments and promoting creative doodling, children are inspired to explore their artistic abilities while enhancing their manual dexterity through the joy of drawing and writing.

    The literacy crisis must be addressed by prioritizing education and investing in strategies that address the root causes. It also involves delivering quality education to all students, providing teachers with adequate resources, encouraging the improvement of motor skills and development, and adopting a reading culture in schools and at home. 

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