ECD moves from the Department of Social Development to the Department of Basic Education on 1 April 2022
The #ECDShift is the administrative process of moving all the Early Childhood Development (ECD) functions, roles and responsibilities that are currently with the Department of Social Development (DSD) to the Department of Basic Education (DBE). The #ECDShift is going to take place on 1 April 2022.
This shift is good for our country, as it means that ECD will now focus on early learning education rather than being seen as mainly a child protection function. We hope this move will improve learning development in young children, help formalise and professionalise the sector, and bring new resources to ECD centres. The Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, says, “The migration gives us, as a sector, an opportunity to craft and implement innovative strategies to strengthen the foundation of learning.”
From 1 April 2022, it will be the DBE’s role (and no longer the DSD’s) to support, subsidise and regulate ECD programmes so that they are up to the standard set out in the Children’s Act.
What does this move from the DSD to the DBE mean for ECD owners, teachers and practitioners? In a nutshell, at least for the first year (2022 to 2023), this shift should not make any significant difference. Everything should continue as it has been.
Here are six things you should know about the ECD function shift:
- Employment and Salaries: If you are currently employed at an ECD Centre, nothing will change. You will not lose your job because of the #ECDShift. The ECD Centre you work for will remain your employer and is still responsible to pay your salary, as they have been doing. The DBE will not be responsible for paying salaries.
- Ownership: If you own an ECD Centre, nothing will change, ownership will stay the same as it was under the DSD. As most ECD Centres are privately owned, the #ECDShift will not affect the ownership of ECD Centres.
- Subsidies: All subsidies that were paid by the DSD, will be paid by the DBE after the #ECDShift – in exactly the same way as the DSD did. The amounts won’t change. As the ECD sector is under-funded, the DBE plans to review the funding model during 2023-2024 to increase funding to the ECD sector, which is good news. ECD Centres must still submit their business plans and funding applications through the normal process so DBE can continue with these payments next year.
- ECD Teacher Qualifications: This will also not change after the #ECDShift. If you are not yet qualified by 1 April 2022, you can continue doing your ECD centre job. The ECD Qualifications of NQF Level 4 & 5 will still be relevant. The DBE encourages all ECD practitioners to get these qualifications. All ECD staff needs to continue with their professional growth and work hard to gain an ECD qualification and further the qualification they already have.
- ECD Centre Registration: The process of registering an ECD Centre will also remain the same, moving from the DSD to the DBE. If your ECD is registered, it will remain registered after the #ECDShift. If you are trying to register your ECD Centre, you will need to follow the same registration process as before; the only difference is that you will be working with a DBE official and not a social worker. If your registration has lapsed (a registration certificate lasts for five years), you will need to renew your ECD Centre’s registration with the DBE.
- The Vangasali registration process: The DBE will follow the Vangasali registration process for all new registrations, meaning: ‘No one left behind’. This approach means that ECD Centres can conditionally register, even if they don’t meet all the requirements needed for a full registration. It is crucial to get all ECD Centres at least conditionally registered so that they can benefit from government support and funding.Many ECD Centres, especially in low-income areas, struggle to comply with the strict registrations regulations. Regulations relating to the school building and zoning are most often the issue. Regulations require ECD Centres to be in brick buildings, have proper toilets, good ventilation, clean kitchen space and hygienic nappy changing areas. Providing these can be very expensive. Many ECD Centres operate from informal structures with limited space and resources. As they can’t afford to comply with these challenging regulations, they never register their ECD Centres and miss out on funding and support opportunities that government provides to registered centres. These centres and the children they serve, also deserve to be supported and helped to meet the full requirements.
Under the Vangasali registration system, ECD Centres can conditionally register if they reach Bronze or Silver levels. Then when they fully comply with all the regulations (Gold level), they can register properly. The DBE plans to implement this across all provinces. Look out for the registration jamborees in your province. These meetings will help you start the registration process.
The vision for moving the ECD functions to the DBE is to ensure that more children receive quality early learning education and development to ensure they are ready for school.
How is GROW Educare Centres supporting ECD centres during this #ECDshift?
GROW is pleased to see that the DBE acknowledges the ECD sector as an independent small business sector run mostly by women. We believe that to build a robust, sustainable and impactful ECD sector, we need to support ECD owners, principals and teachers in all aspects of running a professional preschool and offering quality education in their classrooms.
GROW works with ECD Centres by offering:
- Free technology (an easy-to-use mobile app) to help owners and teachers
- manage their preschool’s administration, finances and compliance
- access the policies, procedures, and templates they need
- understand registration requirements and self-assess
- assess learners based on developmental milestones and NCF guidelines
- run school reports
- and much more
- Continuous professional development training for owners and teachers. We do this through online and face to face training across education, life skills and business skills topics.
- Access to affordable loan finance and grants to invest in their centre’s education equipment, daily curriculum and infrastructure requirements.