It has been demonstrated by a host of studies that early childhood development (ECD) programmes do not benefit only the child, but also families and communities. ECD interventions have been known to contribute to higher school enrolment; reduced drop‐out rates and grade repetition; higher nutrition and health status; improved social and emotional behaviour; and better verbal and intellectual development.
According to the 2011 General Household Survey released by Statistics South Africa, South Africa had just less than 64% of its 0 – 4 year olds participating in ECD activities. It is estimated that only 35% (of the 64%) are enrolled in registered ECD centres (day‐care centres, crèches, playgroups, nursery schools and pre‐primary [other than Grade R] schools), while the majority are receiving their ECD stimulation at home.
ECD is a multifaceted topic that cuts across several departmental programmes. However, this paper is of limited scope and will highlight only the policy and legislative framework; the ECD sub‐programme of the Expanded Public Works rogramme (EPWP); and funding.
Paper written by Kenny Pasensie, Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference Parliamentary Liaison Office