Minister Fernandez calls for clarity on ECD migration
Yesterday, 08 October the Minister of Social Development, Sharna Fernandez and the Minister of Education, Debbie Schäfer, attended an insightful dialogue around the migration of ECD services with organisations from Civil Society, officials from the National Government and NECT.
The discussion was pre-empted by President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) earlier this year, that government would be migrating the responsibility of early childhood development (ECD) from Provincial Departments of Social Development (DSD) to the Department of Basic Education (DBE).
From the discussions that took place, all stakeholders involved were in agreement, that it is unquestionable that the hard work of ensuring improved access to quality and holistic ECD services is much more complicated than a simple shift of responsibility from one department to another.
Minister Fernandez said: “We need a commitment that the migration of ECD services is truly being done in the best interest of the child. Much more robust consultation with all stakeholders is required to understand the challenges and opportunities that we face as we embark on this journey.”
Presently, DSD provides funding to registered quality Early Childhood Development services and programmes that provide a range of services that comply with minimum norms and standards for ECD services to facilitate the emotional, mental, spiritual, moral, physical and social development and growth of children primarily from birth to six years.
As of 31/08/19, a synopsis of registration status indicates that the number of ECD facilities registered in the Western Cape is 1 545. Furthermore, the status of children under four in the Province accessing some form of ECD services is estimated at 227 000 children.
“What we need to ask ourselves, is what are the merits of this entire process? The intended outcome, which we presume is to ensure inclusive, quality ECD services, will not be achievable without additional funding. If we are to successfully navigate the complexities of this migration, a clearer plan and commitment to the provision of the necessary resources is required,“ says Minister Fernandez
Joshua Covenant Chigome
Spokesperson for the Minister of Social Development, Minister Sharna Fernandez
Tel: 021 483 9217
Cell: 083 661 4949
Private Bag X9112, Cape Town, 8000
14 Queen Victoria Street, Cape Town, 8001