Early Childhood Education: The Difference Between Policy and Reality
“In making ECD a reality for our children, several challenges emerge which need to be overcome if we are to ensure that young children have their constitutional, social, educational and economic rights met. The main challenges are: political will, systemic challenges and implementation challenges....
In order to achieve the NDP vision and outcomes, a number of immediate actions are required. These include the following: the mobilisation of political will; the crafting of targeted ECD legislation; a substantial increase in funding; increase in provision rates and ECD programme quality; establishment of minimum training qualifications for ECD teachers; respect for ECD and Grade R teachers; increase in the competencies of government ECD officials; co-operation with the non-profit sector; a realistic and effective ECD implementation plan and costing; a national, integrated monitoring and evaluation system...
South Africa has made some progress in meeting the rights and needs of young children, but so much more needs to be done. Eighteen years after the historic democratic elections, we still fail our youngest children and their families in many respects. Millions of young children continue to be denied access to quality ECD programmes and services. Given the immense social, educational and economic benefits of quality ECD opportunities it is imperative that every child has such an opportunity. This is an opportunity that could determine not only the destiny of a child, but also that of a nation.”
The above information was taken from the article “Early Childhood Education: The Difference Between Policy and Reality” by Eric Atmore, Michaela Ashley-Cooper, and Lauren van Niekerk, you can access a full copy of this article here.
Celebrating those who rise to the challenges of implementing early childhood education
“There are currently more than 60,000 women working in ECD centres throughout South Africa; this means that over 60,000 jobs have been independently created at no cost to government, This is a significant accomplishment and something should be celebrated, Howver, the early childhood development sectorin South Africa faces a multitude of challgens; underpaid tecaheres, unemployed parents, hungry children, and unsafe early learning environments are a few obstacles caregivers and chgidlren experience each day.”
This insert is taken from Celebrating those who rise to the challenges of implementing early childhood education, an article by Michaela Ashley-Cooper and Lauren van Niekerk of the Centre for Early Childhood Development, published in the Thinker Magazine: for Thought Leaders (September 2013 edition/ Volume 55).
In this article we look at the current challenges facing the ECD sector, the Department of Basic Education’s plans to increase preschool education from the current one year of Grade R to two years (as set out in the National Development Plan for 2030), and we pay tribute to the many, many thousands of women who, against all odds and despite having very little support, care for and educate our youngest children each day.
Mathematics is Much More Than Counting
A new report on mathematics in the early years aims to help tackle the crisis of low mathematics achievement in South Africa.
Much More Than Counting: Supporting mathematics development between birth and five years explores the purpose and nature of mathematics learning during the early years and sets out a framework for delivery in preschools and homes.
We have included copies of the press release, with additional information on the report, and the report itself, below, for your interest.
Special thanks to Cally Kühne from the University of Cape Town for sharing these documents with us.
Conference Photos are on Facebook
Photos from our Funding the Future for Early Childhood Development Conference, which took place on 16 and 17 April are now on our Facebook page! Go and have a look... tag yourself, tag your friends and colleagues and leave us a comment telling us what you learnt or how you have implemented these lessons at your organisation!
We’re excited to announce that our second Funding the Future for Early Childhood Development Conference which took place from 16-17 April 2013 at the Protea Hotel, Breakwater Lodge, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town was a HUGE success. Taking into account the rapidly changing funding and resource mobilisation environment in South Africa and internationally, this Conference offered a dynamic mix of presentations, case studies, discussion forums and networking opportunities.
The presentations were relevant, informative, up-to-date with current trends in the ECD and CSI sectors and all-around top class - a BIG thank you to all of our wonderful presenters. We would also like to thank all the delegates who attended - your enthusiasm and commitment to the sector is inspiring and we look forward to hearing how you have implemented these lessons at each of your various organisations.
We challenge you, and ask that you:
- Write down two or three things that you learned about fundraising/strategy or sustainability, that you did not know before and,
- Write a short paragraph on what you feel your organisation should do now, to move forward... what do you need to change? How should you adapt? And what can your organisation do to amend the way you do things currently (and fundraise more effectively?)
To see photos from this Conference, please visit our Facebook page.
Challenges facing the early childhood development sector in South Africa
The majority of young children in South Africa are negatively impacted by a range of social and economic inequalities.
Apartheid and the resultant socio-economic inequalities have created a childhood of adversity for most black South African children in the country, including inadequate access to health care, education, social services and quality nutrition. This has undermined the development of our children.
There has no doubt been progress in South Africa since 1994, both quantitatively and qualitatively: there have been improvements in Grade R and ECD provision over the past eighteen years; the number of children in Grade R has trebled since 2001 and quality has improved; government expenditure on Grade R has increased three-fold since 2008/09; the number of ECD centres registered with the national department of Social Development has increased to 19,500 and there are currently approximately 836,000 children in a registered ECD centres, of which 488,000 (58%) received the ECD subsidy.
Notwithstanding the progress made in early childhood development provision since 1994, children in South Africa still face significant challenges; with major gaps in infrastructure, teacher training, nutrition, ECD programming, institutional capacity and funding. It is fair to say that much work is still needed, if we want to improve the quality of children’s lives in South Africa and say with confidence that the needs of our youngest children are truly being met.
The above information was taken from Challenges facing the early childhood development sector in South Africa by Michaela Ashley-Cooper, Eric Atmore and Lauren van Niekerk, you can access a full copy of this here.