by Refiloe Nt’sekhe MPL – DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Social Development
A report released by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) recently revealed that 47% of South African children aged 0-6 years do not attend any educational institution.
These children are being denied access to Early Childhood Development (ECD) as many parents and guardians cannot afford the cost of these institutions.
ECD is critical as the foundations are laid for numerical and verbal literacy, basics that they will need as they progress through their schooling career.
In Gauteng 35.6% of children between the ages of 0-6 did not attend any educational institution. The report indicates that the reason for this could be that most ECD facilities are privately owned, making it more difficult for the community to afford the fees.
While this number is lower than the national figure, more needs to be done to ensure that every child has access to centres dedicated to developing their young minds.
Children who do not receive ECD education are at greater risk of later dropping out of school.
In Gauteng there are far too many unregistered ECD centres. Red tape needs to be cut to ensure that all ECD centres are registered and operating within the confines of the law.
The DA believes that early childhood development is crucial in preparing children for school, particularly where children come from deprived backgrounds.
Come 2019 when the DA governs we will ensure that there is greater collaboration between the Departments of Basic Education and Social Development to develop a national network of early childhood development education centres for children aged 0 to four.
We will work together with the private sector to establish public-private partnerships as well as partnerships with community-based and non-governmental organisations to ensure that no child is denied the right to access ECD centres.
Total Change is needed to ensure that the people of Gauteng and particularly our vulnerable young children are given the best foundation possible to prepare them for the ten-year school career.