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South African Journal of Education

On-line version ISSN 2076-3433
Print version ISSN 0256-0100


PILLAY, Jace. The relationship between housing and children's literacy achievement: Implications for supporting vulnerable children. S. Afr. j. educ. [online]. 2017, vol.37, n.2, pp.1-10. ISSN 2076-3433.

This article examines the relationship between housing, a critical aspect of socio-economic conditions, and literacy achievement of children from a school in a high density suburb in South Africa. Data was collected through a quantitative survey that was administered to learners (N = 160) from four Grade Five classes. The survey included five literacy tests that were standardised by two education consultancies, namely Do-IT-Solutions (United Kingdom-based) and Shape the Learner (South African-based). The findings indicate that most learners who live in informal houses, that is, low-cost houses such as a shack, in overcrowded conditions, generally perform poorly in the literacy tests administered as compared to those learners who live in conventional (brick) houses that are not overcrowded. Also, learners who have more home duties appear to perform poorly in the literacy tests compared to those that have lesser responsibilities. As such, the findings indicate a relationship between housing conditions and literacy achievement. The author proposes a social justice framework for providing educational support for children made vulnerable due to their housing conditions.

Keywords : housing; literacy achievement; literacy tests; socio-economic conditions; social justice; survey; vulnerable children.

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