ECD practitioners in the North West decry lack of support from Department of Education

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Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners in the North West say the transfer from Social Development to Basic Education Department has worsened the poor management of their ECD Centres.

They shared their frustrations with Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga, who was in Mahikeng.

Minister Motshekga visited the province to assess and receive feedback from ECD practitioners, after ECDs were legally transferred from Social Development to Education Department on the April 1st 2022.

Stipends not paid

ECD practitioners say it’s difficult to run the centres as they have not received any stipends to run the centres since the transfer. They lament that they are even clueless about new methods and curriculum they have to follow.

One of the ECD practitioners says, “It has been worse. Normally, with social they always corresponded with us. When education took over in April, they promised us by the end of April our money will be in. We need to feed children every day, we need to pay stipends and do admin. Nothing has been paid up to today.”

Another one says, “The education department has not visited our crèches to see if we are on the right track or to even tell us of the new methods we need to follow.”

Broken promises

“The Department of Education promised and motivated us. They told us they will pay stipends and grocery for children every month, but that’s not the case,” adds another.

Meanwhile, Motshekga says it is shocking that the North West Education Department has not been paying stipends to over 2 447 Early Childhood Development Centres (ECDs) in the province.

The ECDs were transferred to Basic Education from the Social Development Department in April this year.

Motshekga says the province needs to explain why payments have not been made.

“Some provinces are doing well, but unfortunately, I was told in KZN it was 50%. I still don’t understand why it’s 50%. Gauteng is almost working well, I just don’t understand why other provinces are unable to get their systems going. Even here, they gave the report to say they’ve not paid. I think they have to explain why they’re not able to pay. I was with Western Cape last week, they’re doing well. Free State is doing well. North West, I don’t know. That’s what the province has to explain because the money, we give to the province. So, we will hear also from the province why they’ve not paid the stipends,” says Motshekga