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 woman. The Children's Act is the piece of law governing ECD site and programmes and 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 are unrealistic requirements required 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 that the ECD Policy cannot be properly implemented. The legal system does not serve our children and communities in our area. It requires significant reform.
That is also 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 Campaign. The Real Reform for ECD Campaign is calling for the following reforms: