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A new paradigm in Early Childcare Education on the South African landscape.

International News

Formalise childcare sector, lobby tells state

17 May 2022

A perspective from Nairobi. Uthabiti Africa, an organisation that accelerates early childhood care and development in Africa, said that childcare workers like nannies play a vital role in the lives of Kenyan children and parents. A study Uthabiti did between 2019 and 2020 found that women comprise 91.1 per cent of the childcare workforce in Kenya.

Uthabiti said that more awareness needs to be raised about the critical role played by childcare givers and solutions designed on a basis to solve the problems in the sector.

Further Reading: Formalise Childcare Sector

Rising demand for boutique childcare centres shown by healthy sales

31 May 2022

This article is about a fancy new school that opened in Australia. However, the focus here, from a PLW point of view, is not so much on the viewpoint about fancy schools, which to some may leave a bit of a bad taste in the mouth, considering that there is not supposed to be any direct correlation between fancy infrastructure and quality of education, but rather about what is said in the article about the size of the sector in Australia.

It states that the market size of the childcare services industry in Australia in 2022 is $13.7 billion and is expected to increase 2.8 per cent this year, representing an annualised growth over the past 5 years (2017–2022) of 2.1 per cent.

Further Reading: Australia Childcare Market Size

Associations between the neighbourhood social environment and preschool children’s physical activity and screen time

28 May 2022

The neighbourhood social environment (NSE) has been associated with physical activity and screen time behaviours in adults and youth, however, less is known about this relationship in preschool-aged children (2–5 years). This study seeks to explore associations between the NSE and the physical activity and screen time behaviours of preschool-aged children.

The results were that parental social interaction was positively associated with preschool children’s daily physical activity, their likelihood of meeting physical activity guidelines, and both physical activity and screen time guidelines, and negatively associated with their daily screen time.

PLW Comment: PLW’s viewpoints on screentime for youngsters are well-established. In short – we believe it should be kept to a minimum. This study seems to reinforce that. There is however much more to this study, so please read it at your leisure.

Further Reading: Screentime Association


Local News

Grade R will be prioritised, says Lesufi as ECD allocated R1.9 billion

30 May 2022

With an allocation of R1.9 billion to ECD from its budget of R59.7 billion, the Gauteng department of education said it had offered ECD to more than 164,000 pupils while expanding Grade R to all public primary school pupils, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Lesufi said his department would research the criteria for funding targeted community-based sites offering Grade R. He said the department would target registered private grade R centres and provide them with curriculum support and training.

Lesufi said the department planned on registering private Grade R sites through the introduction of provincial regulations to ensure there was an adequate mix of public, private and community-based sites.

Further Reading: Grade R Prioritised in Gauteng


Acute malnutrition robbing children of their full potential

23 May 2022

Though stunting is a physical measure and is associated with the increased risk of some chronic diseases such as diabetes in future, it is also an important indicator that mental development may be affected.

Physically stunted children’s brains cannot make the neural connections as they should. Their cognitive ability does not blossom. Malnourished children also have little energy, further diminishing their ability to learn and escape poverty. Research suggests they are less likely to be enrolled in school and learn less when they are there.

The majority of ECD facilities operate between five to 10 hours per day, and the provision of meals is therefore essential. The current government subsidy to ECD facilities is seen as inadequate and does not reach the most deserving children.

Further Reading: The Dangers of Malnutrition

South Africa: First Early Childhood Development Census Reveals Underfunded and Underqualified Sector

16 May 2022

The results of the first ECD census – the ECD 2021 Census – highlight the urgent need for the government to expand access to funding and resources for early learning programmes.

Less than half of the surveyed ECD centres are registered with the Department of Social Development (DSD), while even fewer receive government subsidies.

From August 2021 to February 2022, the census collected data from 42,420 early learning programmes nationwide, representing about 1.6 million enrolled children. The aim was to gather information to develop a centralised management information system to improve resource allocation and oversight of ECD centres.

Further Reading: ECD Census

Partnership bolsters ECD sector

11 May 2022

A partnership between the public and private sector is fundamental for government to achieve its goal of giving all South African children access to quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes by 2030.

This is according to Samantha Massey, project manager of the Santa Shoebox (SSB) Legacy fund. According to findings by the organisation, an estimated 1,24 million children aged three to five are not attending an ECD learning programme. Of them, more than 75% are underprivileged.

Further Reading: Partnerships in ECD

Massive improvement still needed for the ECD sector

26 May 2022

Reacting to the results of the first census on early childhood development programmes in South Africa, Professor Eric Atmore, director of the non-profit organisation Centre for Early Childhood Development, said the survey was long overdue. Some remarks that bear mentioning during this discussion include:

  • One-third of ECD programmes use pit latrines for children.
  • The important work of developing and caring for our children is being done largely without government support.
  • Sixty-six per cent of four- to five-year-olds are not developmentally on track as indicated in the recent release of the Thrive by Five report.
  • With 7 056 000 children aged zero and five, the fact that only 1 660 316 (23 per cent) children were enrolled in early learning programmes surveyed suggests that most children do not have meaningful access to early learning and care opportunities.
  • There are 42 420 early childhood development providers in South Africa, and only 40 per cent are fully or conditionally registered. In addition, only 33 per cent of the registered or partially registered receive a government subsidy.
  • The majority of ECD centres exist in very poor communities where communities cannot afford to get their physical structures to a quality that the Children’s Act requires.
  • Twenty-two per cent of practitioners do not have a relevant qualification. ECD practitioners do not have the financial means to obtain a qualification, and sometimes struggle to find a service provider that is close by.
  • Training focused on play-based learning and the provision of resources needs to be increased, along with on-site support to implement a quality early learning programme.

Further Reading: Improvements Needed


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