Close to a quarter (22%) of the 165 059 teaching and managerial staff in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector do not have any formal training or qualification, underpinning the enormity of the sector’s challenges, the country’s first-ever census has shown.

It is not all doom and gloom, however, as the ECD 2021 Census conducted by the Department of Basic Education (DBE) in partnership with the LEGO Foundation reveals that more than a quarter (26%) took part in an accredited skills programme, about four out of six (42%) obtained an NQF Level 4 or 5 education, and 10% had an NQF Level 6 or higher.

But the sector is desperate for expansion of ECD programmes, training of practitioners, and the need for better allocation of funds. Interviewed recently after the launch, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga reckons the findings will inform future crucial actions of ECD in the country, responsibility for which is now under her watch following the switch from the Department of Social Development on April 1.

The first ECD census aimed to gather reliable data and information to move towards a centralised management information system to improve ECD centres’ resource allocation and oversight management across the country. It was released in May.

“While significant progress has been made in terms of providing better ECD programmes since 1994, the sector still faces challenges, including those related to infrastructure, quality of the programmes offered, practitioners’ qualifications and training, and institutional capacity and funding,” said Motshekga.

For more information: IOL