Educational experts state that for South Africa to reach is Early Childhood Development (ECD) goals, we would need more than 100 000 additional early learning teachers and 40 000 new venues for three- to five-year-olds alone. This means that the country is lagging with reaching its goals, and thousands of young children are not receiving the education they need.
Old Mutual held a Trialogue Business in Society Virtual Conference and ‘Breaking Boundaries in Education was a key theme. Here, panelists Nicole Biondi (Strategic Head of marketing and communications at Innovation Edge), Justine Jowell (Programme Design Lead at SmartStart), and Megan Blair (CEO Earlybird Educare@Work) discussed the importance of ECDs and how the country can fast track its progress to ensuring every child receives access.
During the conference, the majority of the delegates agreed that training teachers is key if real ECD progress is to be seen.
Models such as SmartStart and Innovation Edge are currently in place to service thousands of children across the country. SmartStart was created five years ago and to date has serviced more than 75 000 children. Innovation Edge has created the 3 Little Minutes mobile SMS campaign and sends content to parents by Book Dash and Nal’ibali.
Biondi says “we want to get South Africa excited about how children enter school, because if we can shift the way they enter schools we can surely shift the way they are leaving school.”
ECD sets children up for big school, and it lays a foundation for understanding and confidence. If this foundation is not laid accordingly, the children are not set up for success.
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