EARLY EDUCATION PHASE CRITICAL — EDMUND VAN VUUREN, THE HERALD

SOUTH Africa’s education system needs as much aid and assistance as possible to get it to the level of success it is capable of attaining. Early childhood education needs just as much attention as any other level of education, if not even more.

It is at this stage where children develop all the skills they will need further on in their education. To ensure the growth and stimulation of children in their early developmental years a number of critical factors need to be paid attention to, including the social welfare and environment of the young pupil.

The National Development Plan addresses a number of key issues, one of which is the attainment of high quality early childhood education. This issue is pivotal and needs support with great emphasis on the processes used to achieve it.

The benefits of intervening early in the lives of children include: better school enrolment rates, retention and academic performance, higher rates of high school completion and lower levels of antisocial behaviour.

Recently Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga announced that the Council of Education Ministers had adopted a new curriculum for early childhood development.

It is stated to be “a seamless curriculum in line with the objectives of the National Development Plan (NDP)”.

If these aims are to be met, then all early childhood development systems need to be fully functional and efficient. All centres across the Eastern Cape need to be on an equal level of competency.

The NDP is a document which defines a desired target for the country. It also further identifies the roles that different sectors in the country need to play, in reaching that goal.

By setting these goals and targets those in each sector should be guided by what their particular end goals should be.

In the instance of early childhood development, their end goal, as identified by the NDP, is to “make early childhood development a top priority, amongst the measures to improve the quality of education and long-term prospects of future generations”.

We need to avail opportunities to all for development to take place, by focusing on giving opportunities to those with the necessary capabilities, and allowing them the space to use available opportunities to meet their dreams and aspirations.

We cannot allow the circumstances of one’s birth to determine one’s future – all children should have access to education, whether they can afford it or not.

What needs to be tackled improvement of the management of the education system, and the removal of layers of bureaucracy and red tape that hinder the extension of the early childhood education system.

We appeal to all stakeholders to be very vocal and proactive in demanding high quality and productive education during our children’s formative years.

The DA supports the proposals by the National Development Commission that the home and community environment are critical for the development of children’s deductive abilities, that is the process by which you find the solution to a question or problem by thinking carefully about the known facts or circumstances.

If we as a nation want to build a better South Africa, it is critical that we secure our future.

If we want to improve South Africa, we need to start with how we educate our children, how we raise our children and how we protect our children.

Our children need a healthy environment which will stimulate both their growth and their intellectual capabilities.

For children to be able to enhance their deductive abilities, they need to have proper nutrition and secure homes, which are both essential for sound physical and mental development.

The home and community environment are essential for the holistic development of the child, because what happens within those environments has an influence, negatively or positively, on the mental state of the child.

The education department in the Eastern Cape should be commended for having set the ball rolling by attaching early childhood centres to almost all primary schools in the province. The opportunities that have been created for our children to access early childhood education, can in the long run, if managed properly by qualified personnel and properly trained practitioners, produce the educational outcomes that we are currently struggling to attain.

The education department needs to set enough funds aside to provide children in the early childhood education system, especially those living in households with indigent parents, with a daily nutritious meal which is essential for physical growth, mental development and enhancement of deductive abilities.

The quality of education, especially for our black and disadvantaged pupils, remains poor.

It is thus incumbent upon the bureaucrats to improve the quality of education, and what better way to do it than through the careful management of our early childhood education level?