There are close to 800 000 children between the ages of 0 and 4 in the Eastern Cape, but only 6.8% of these are provided with Early Childhood Development services by the Department of Social Development.
MEC for Social Development, Siphokazi Mani Lusithi, has revealed that only 73 187 children currently receive an ECD subsidy through the 1 757-government funded ECD centres in the province.
This needs to be urgently addressed if we are to end the poverty cycle and build a better future for this province.
Decades of neuroscience and behavioural research shows that children are more successful in school and beyond if they are given a strong foundation in the earliest years of their lives.
The Democratic Alliance believes that Early Childhood Development services play a critical role in providing that foundation, especially in terms of preparing children for schooling.
It is therefore vital that government provides these crucial services to the children of the Eastern Cape.
MEC Lusithi has indicated that the province requires an additional 2,825 ECD centres, over and above what is currently available, to meet the needs of the province.
But, while acknowledging the need, the MEC’s Department has been turning away communities who have been trying to assist their children by registering ECD centres.
Instead of providing the necessary support to these institutions, to help them become sustainable, and meet the necessary requirements, the Department has simply refused to assist, with the children being the ones who suffer.
The DA is calling on MEC Lusithi and the Department to urgently assist organisations who apply for funding for ECD centres, to provide the necessary support and capacitate these organisations to meet the funding requirements, and in so doing, provide the children of the Eastern Cape with quality ECD facilities.
Edmund van Vuuren
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