The Draft ECD Policy is commended for recognising ECD as a public good and for the commitment of the Government of the Republic of South Africa towards building a national ECD system which will support the public provision of a comprehensive package of ECD services.
Ilifa has recommended the prioritisation of the following concerns in the quest to ensure scale, equity and quality of ECD services, especially to the most vulnerable and marginalised young children.
- Quality ECD has long been recognised as requiring effective collaboration across sectors. However, there is little evidence of the development and funding of effective coordination mechanisms to support integrated ECD in South Africa. It is therefore critical that priority be given to the development and adequate resourcing of effective, appropriate and credible coordination mechanisms.
- The draft policy envisages and requires massive increases in the availability and delivery of key ECD services. The envisaged increase in scale and complexity can only be achieved and sustained in the presence of sound and effective departmental systems, especially within the Department of Social Development. Therefore, it is critical that the development of appropriate departmental systems and capacity be prioritised to lay a sound foundation for the effective and sustained scale-up of delivery of quality services to realise the national ECD vision.
- Among the systems that must be in place from the outset to support the realisation of the national ECD vision are effective monitoring and quality control processes. South Africa’s ECD landscape has been characterised by poor quality services, notably for the most marginalised and vulnerable children. ECD provisioning has, in many instances, thus served to perpetuate, rather than break the intergenerational cycle of poverty. Breaking this vicious cycle depends on the scaled-up provision of quality ECD services to the most vulnerable and marginalised, and this in turn requires the development of robust and effective quality control and improvement processes and systems right from the start.
Ilifa Labantwana’s full submission to the Draft National ECD Policy is available HERE