According to Clayton Morar,Reform early childhood development (ECD) programme Campaign spokesperson “Of those who do access some form of ECD programme, 2.9million children are in unregistered programmes and only 800654 children in registered centres. Only 626574, or 25% of the children who need it are obtaining subsidised learning”.She reckons that this could be a recipe for disaster when more than six out of 10 children face extreme poverty.
To address this problem,a campaign for real reform of early childhood development (ECD) programme has been launched to ensure that reform of the legal framework for ECD is taken seriously. The initiative is backed by more than 50 NGOs, ECD providers and practitioners. The campaign was launched because legislative amendments being proposed in Parliament are a missed opportunity to improve the lives of millions of children.
The group is pushing for five main reforms, including a push for a one-step registration process for ECD providers.“Different types of ECD programme providers, including playgroups, toy libraries and home-based care must be regulated differently. A one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate,”said Morar.
The campaign also wants adequate health, safety and programme standards in place, and for it to be made clear that ECD providers can get conditional registration if they can’t meet all the registration requirements.“We are calling on practitioners, parents and caregivers to support the campaign for real reform for ECD and to make a submission to Parliament before November 27,” added Morar.
Premier Alan Winde said ECD access was an important priority in children’s upbringing.“We will be convening a special consultative forum with key stakeholders doing amazing work in this space, to plot a common way forward to ensure that ECD (centres) are treated like a critical service, and their work can be expanded to reach many more children,” said Winde.