We are helping to build a movement for change in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector
Unlike basic education, ECD is mostly provided privately by entrepreneurial women. The Children's Act is the piece of law governing ECD site and programmes and it requires these programmes to be registered. Once registered some sites may be able to access a 'per child per day' subsidy from the Department of Social Development.
There are over 6 million children of ECD going age (excluding Grade R) in South Africa and the majority live in poverty. 3.2 million of those children do not access any form of ECD programme. Of those children who do access some form of ECD programme, only 800 654 children are in registered centres. That means 2.5 million children are in unregistered programmes. Only 25% of the children who need it most, have access to the DSD subsidy which supports the ECD programme to provide for nutrition for the children in their care, amongst other things.
A major barrier to registration is unrealistic requirements by the Children's Act. The registration requirements are unattainable--there is a complicated dual registration process, there are pro-poor mechanisms in the Children's Act that are not utilised and there are major gaps in the legislation that mean the ECD Policy cannot be properly implemented. The legal system does not serve our children and communities. It requires significant reform.
That is why we founded, together with Ilifa Labantwana, the Children’s Institute, Equal Education Law Centre, National ECD Alliance, Bridge, SmartStart and DGMT, the Real Reform for ECD movement. The Real Reform for ECD movement is calling for the following reforms to be included in the ECD Children's Amendment Bill: