The ECD Census 2021, commissioned by the Department of Basic Education and funded by the LEGO Foundation, has made considerable progress towards its ambitious goal of counting all the ECD programmes in South Africa. The fieldworkers will have visited and counted early childhood development programmes in 75% of all wards in the country by end-November. This equates to over 38 000 ECD programmes who are providing early learning and care to more than 1,4 million enrolled children and employing over 170 000 staff.
It is anticipated that the field work which commenced in September 2021 will complete majority of the fieldwork by mid-December with the tail end extending into January 2022. Working with the LEGO Foundation, UNICEF and various stakeholders active in the ECD space, the South African government is developing policies to bring play-based learnings into classrooms and pre-school facilities nationwide.
Jan Schenk, Director of ikapadata, the data collection company responsible for conducting the ECD Census 2021 adds: “A special vote of thanks must be extended to the field workers who have been extremely resourceful and committed to locating the ECD programmes in all the suburbs, towns and remote villages throughout South Africa. This is a particularly proud moment for South Africa as this collaboration between the Department of Basic Education, the Department of Social Development and the LEGO Foundation which will see a significant improvement in understanding the ECD sector.”
The data collected during nationwide census of ECD programmes will assist the Department of Basic Education and its partners to better understand the ECD landscape in South Africa. This information will then be used to build a data management information system for the ECD sector and provide a basic assessment of the enabling environment for quality learning through play.
Kulula Manona, the Department of Education’s Chief Director for Foundations for Learning says: “We are very encouraged by the collaboration from the sector in ensuring that the ECD Census is a success. Although we still have 25% to go, the information already collected has provided valuable insights into the challenges faced by the sector. This information is already being used to inform our planning for the coming years.”
LEGO Foundation Director in South Africa, Kerry Kassen says, “The LEGO Foundation is pleased with the progress that has been made in the data collection process. We are grateful for the participation of the various programmes who have volunteered their information that will allow us to support the systems that will enable quality play-based learning for all children in South Africa”