The National Development Plan (NDP) states that education plays a key role in addressing poverty and inequality.
Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini recently said Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres play an important role in laying a solid foundation for children’s development during the early stages of their lives. This results in them being able to contribute positively to the overall development and progress of the country.
“The NDP envisions that by 2030 a full comprehensive age and developmental stage appropriate package of quality ECD services is available to all infants, toddlers and their caregivers.”
In the 2016/17 financial year, access to ECD centres increased by 42 972 children. By the end of the third quarter 2016/17, 1 739 762 children had gained access to ECD centres.
Currently, the country has 16 088 fully registered ECD centres.
Some 9 272 of these centres are conditionally registered, which brings the total number of fully registered and conditionally registered ECDs to 25 360.
Minister Dlamini encouraged unregistered centres to register with government. This will help them access government subsidies that will enable them to provide comprehensive and holistic ECD services and programmes.
The Minister added that National Treasury has allocated an additional amount of R812 million in the form of a conditional grant over the next three years of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework. The subsidy is R15 per child for 264 days, across the country.
Minister Dlamini said she was proud of the progress made with regard to schools built as part of the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Development Initiative (ASIDI) and the provincial programme. The ASIDI aims to replace schools built from inappropriate materials