Thursday, October 22, 2020

Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD) lay the foundation for a good start at school because the first five years of a child’s life are the most important for developing important basic functions such as motor skills, counting, creativity and social skills but not all centres are registered.

The Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Department of Social Development (DSD) have come up with a campaign to help ECD centres to get registered and provide effective care to children around South Africa.

The campaign is divided into two phases:

Phase 1 of the Vangasali (meaning ‘No One Left Behind’ in Xitsonga) campaign was launched in June and aims to find every ECD centre in South Africa. During this phase, more than 52 000 ECD services were identified around the country.

Phase 2 of the campaign aims to support ECD centres in applying for registration with the DSD.

Sumaya Hendricks, Dialogue Analyst at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, explained that it is important for the DSD to build a database of ECD providers in South Africa. She noted that registered centres are better able to access government relief measures and support, which is especially important during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has meant that many ECD centres have been closed.

“While the DSD has some data regarding the scale of ECD provisioning in the country, this covers mostly registered and conditionally registered sites. There are, however, thousands of unregistered ECD services and non-centre based ECD services, including mobile services, that government does not have data on because they are unaware of where these centres operate from,” said Hendricks.

Abram Kgari, the chairperson of the Diepsloot ECD Forum in Gauteng, said that getting centres registered can also give them access to subsidies that can help pay for the running of the centres. He encourages parents to find centres that are registered with the DSD because the subsidies they receive help them to provide a better level of care.

ECD service providers can register an ECD centre by contacting their nearest DSD office. They should also contact their local municipality and the departments of Education and Health to get the right permissions and the necessary health clearance certificate.

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