Government will this year start the ball rolling on making early childhood development (ECD) compulsory for all children, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in his 2019 State of the Nation address.
“With over 700,000 children accessing early childhood education in the last financial year, we have established a firm foundation for a comprehensive ECD programme that is an integral part of the education system,” Ramaphosa told the nation in his annual address in the National Assembly, which was televised nationally.
“This year, we will migrate responsibility for ECD centres from social development to basic education, and proceed with the process towards two years of compulsory ECD for all children before they enter grade 1.”
Ramaphosa said a key priority would be to increase literacy levels among primary school pupils.
“This is essential in equipping children to succeed in education, in work and in life — and it is possibly the single most important factor in overcoming poverty, unemployment and inequality,” he said.
“The department’s early grade reading studies have demonstrated the impact that a dedicated package of reading resources, expert reading coaches and lesson plans can have on reading outcomes. We will be substantially expanding the availability of these early reading resources across the foundation phase of schooling.”
Ramaphosa set another ambitious target, ensuring that every school child in the country has access to a tablet with digital workbooks and textbooks within the next six years.
“We will start with those schools that have been historically most disadvantaged and are located in the poorest communities, including multigrade, multiphase, farm and rural schools.”
– African News Agency (ANA)