March 2019.

Speaking at an Early Childhood Development (ECD) graduation ceremony this past week, the Department of Social Development once again highlighted the importance of public-private-partnerships to help improve our country’s level of education and develop young children holistically.

“We all want to see children develop holistically and it is only through qualified practitioners that we can see the difference in the lives of young children. This is why we want to encourage practitioners to continue to study towards their B Ed qualification,” said Nosipho Nkalitshana, ECD Manager at the Provincial Department of Social Development, who addressed the graduates on behalf of the Head of the Department, Mrs Baart.

The group of thirteen, very proud ECD Practitioners celebrated the successful completion of their NQF level 5 training at a graduation ceremony where they received their Further Education and Training Certificates.
Having commenced their training in 2016, this is an important milestone in their journey to exceeding the Department of Social Development’s requisite that strongly advises that there should be at least one practitioner with an ECD NQF Level 4 qualification at each ECD centre. Furthermore, it is expected that this will soon be a basic requirement for the registration of an ECD site.

“There is a need for this kind of support from organisations such as Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, who make a difference in children’s lives,” added Nosipho Nkalitshana.

Following an audit of ECD centres in the Eastern Cape during 2014, Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm began funding the implementation of a developmental programme that includes ECD Practitioner training, mentoring and support programmes, ECD compliance and governance, infrastructure, as well as the provision of equipment and classroom resources.

“ECD remains a critical point for our country’s social and economic transformation and development. This is why our programme is extensive, as we know that we need to do more than just provide equipment and resources; we need to invest in the future of these communities by offering mentorship and encourage further education, so that the ECD practitioners of today will be qualified Grade R teachers in the future,” said Hlengiwe Radebe, Economic Development Director for Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.

The results of this programme have been remarkable. Practitioners were very motivated and conscientious and achieved an overall attendance rate at training sessions of well above 90%.

The participating ECD centres support communities in Humansdorp, Jeffreys Bay, Westin, Thornhill, Sea Vista, Patensie and Hankey. Stakeholders and ECD centres were identified through consultation with the Eastern Cape Education and Social Development Departments.