Inside Education Reporter

Basic Education Minister, Angie Motshekga, accompanied by Free State Education MEC, Makalo Mohale, last week, met with Free State education officials at the Fezile Dabi District Office to pinpoint challenges hampering the smooth implementation and integration of ECD into the sector. 

Minister Motshekga said that quality drivers such as resources, infrastructure, training and centre registration remain some of the key areas of focus to build on an inclusive and holistic ECD space within the sector.

The Minister has been engaging with ECD practitioners as part of a mass registration drive since the latter part of 2023 as the Basic Education Sector continues to ramp up its efforts to ensure full-scale integration of ECD. 

In addition, the engagements serve at better capacitating forums and centres on what the landscape of ECD will look like as the five outcomes for ECD in 2024 are being identified and implemented. During the session, challenges hampering the smooth implementation and integration of ECD into the Sector, were discussed to find solutions to common challenges.

According to Dr Janeli Kotze, Acting Director for ECD, the Department has put measures in place to ensure that South African children have access to opportunities for learning through play, and to integrate with other departments to enable all children to have access to good health, adequate nutrition, safety and security, as well as responsive caregiving.

“Our goal as the Department is to coordinate the distribution of health and safety packs and play and learning materials to ensure key resources reach the most under-resourced early learning programmes. 

“Another focus will be on scaling up access to early learning programmes for 3 to 5-year-olds, targeting 170,000 children each year, by building new public private partnerships with social partners. 

“In addition, parental support interventions across departments, to ensure families with young children access support, and reaching 17,000 parents and caregivers in 2024. New mechanisms to drive progress against an agreed ECD Outcomes Framework must be put in place to improve ECD leadership and coordination across departments and spheres of government. 

“Government is using population-based planning to target resources and effort so that families in townships, informal housing and deep rural areas benefit most. Government is also launching a Social Compact for ECD to bring together the best efforts of the ECD sector, donors, business and social partners behind these ambitious goals,” explained Dr Kotze.

“The Department is implementing the mass registration drive, which will target 20,000 unregistered ECD programmes and provide them with conditional registration for one year. 

During this year, the DBE and municipalities will support ECD programmes to become compliant through the provision of pre-registration support packs, after which they will be required to apply for full registration.

“All ECD programmes will need to register according to legislation. This includes independent community-based programmes, private programmes, NPOs and micro-enterprises. A certificate with the DBE’s logo will be provided to ECD programmes to indicate that they have been conditionally/fully registered. However, registration does not equate to funding,” added Dr Kotze.

INSIDE EDUCATION

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