The Eastern Cape Department of Education (ECdoE) is failing in its mandate to manage Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, with hundreds of ECD centres apparently not being paid since the Department took over in April this year.
The Democratic Alliance has raised this issue with the Education Department and with Education MEC, Fundile Gade, to have these non-payments resolved as a matter of urgency.
We will continue to fight for these centres to be adequately resourced, and this starts with ensuring that they are paid their subsidies on time!
Since the handover of ECD centres from Social Development in April, I have been inundated with requests to assist ECD employees and owners, who have reported that hundreds of ECD centres in the province have not received their subsidies.
These centres are meant to lay the critical foundations which are necessary for children to progress in life. We cannot allow ECD centres to go months without their subsidies as it means that staff go unpaid and there are no resources to see to our children.
The function shift to the Department of Education allows for ECD centres to take on a more educational role than a child protection role which was perceived as the main function of ECD centres under the Department of Social Development.
In a country where the government is a working, progressive mechanism, the function shift can be seen as a positive initiative.
Unfortunately for the millions of Eastern Cape children between the ages of 4 and 6 years of age, the ever-battling ECdoE is already failing them within the first three months.
Recently I spoke to the Deputy Director General for Institutional Management, Ray Tywakadi, who promised to send a full report on the ECD issue. I have still not received the report.
Detailed questions have also been submitted to MEC Gade. My office will also be writing to the office of Tywakadi to get the promised report and plans to pay outstanding subsidies.
The DA will not stand by with folded arms while the foundation of Eastern Cape learners’ education is not being prioritised.