South Africa: Early Childhood Development gets a boost

Cape Town – More than 400,000 children accessing Early Childhood Development (ECD) facilities are being subsidised by government, said Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini.

Speaking at the Social Protection and Community Development Cluster media briefing on Friday, Dlamini said currently 432,727 children are subsidised at a cost of R12 to R15 per day in registered ECD facilities.

“In the next financial year, we will increase the number of subsidised facilities from 16,250 to 17,000,” she said.

In efforts to promote universal primary education, said Dlamini, the Ministry of Women, Children and People with Disabilities will embark on an Access to Education for all Children Campaign.

“The campaign will focus on orphans, vulnerable children and children with disabilities to promote integration of learners with special needs into the mainstream education system as part of [the] Inclusive Education Policy.

“In addition, the ministry will also conduct an audit of special schools with the view to address various challenges that have been reported,” she said.

The Department of Social Development has also awarded 5,574 social work scholarships to students to study social work at institutions of higher learning.

“This is part of our effort to create a skilled workforce and to address the critical shortage of social work professionals. The Social Development MINMEC has approved the rural allowance model for social workers working in remote rural areas as a complimentary effort in support of the recruitment and retention strategy for social workers,” said Dlamini.

Meanwhile, the Departments of Basic Education and Sport and Recreation have undertaken to develop a joint framework for school sport. The roadmap and roll out plan to bring back the culture of school sport be marked by both training and campaigns aimed at generating and encouraging popular participation in sport.

“Our practical steps to promote schools and community sport include training of teachers and administrators in the various sporting codes, making sport-and-recreation part of the school academic calendar through competitions at districts, provincial and national levels,” she added.

Source – BuaNews