Early childhood development

SOURCE: Human resources development review 2008: education, employment and skills in South Africa
OUTPUT TYPE: Chapter in Monograph
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2008
TITLE AUTHOR(S): L.Biersteker, A.Dawes
SOURCE EDITOR(S): A.Kraak, K.Press
KEYWORDS: CHILD DEVELOPMENT, EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT (ECD), EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, HUMAN RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
DEPARTMENT: Human and Social Development (HSD)
Web link: http://www.hsrcpress.ac.za/product.php?productid=2218&cat=1&page=1&freedownload=1
Intranet: HSRC Library: shelf number 4995

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Abstract

It is well established that early childhood development (ECD) lays the foundation for success in the schooling system, and for human and societal development more generally. The poverty environments within which most children grow up do not provide good platforms for development, and poor schooling outcomes indicate that the deficits cannot be overcome by the schooling system. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds in particular need exposure to quality ECD services if we are to see improvements in these outcomes. This chapter draws on available data to show that improvements to access and quality are essential for all types of ECD provision, and argues that service access is presently skewed by age, geography and race and largely excludes children with disabilities. The legacy of apartheid neglect of ECD provisioning and practitioner training is that the most disadvantaged communities have access to the poorest services. Budget allocations and training supply cannot satisfy the need to expand access and improve quality. ECD has increasingly become a policy priority and delivery focus for human resource development (HRD) in South Africa, but current initiatives are hampered b lack of data and poor data quality, The chapter concludes that regularly collected and accessible data are needed on ECD coverage, access and use, benchmarked quality indicators (including practitioner qualifications, ratios and materials), financing and child outcomes, if the present inadequacies are to be addressed.