Media Statement: It Doesn’t Add Up: Save Our Early Childhood Development Workforce

 In Member statements

10 August 2020
For Immediate Release

#itdoesntaddup #saveourECDworkforce #ECDcontinuitygrant #ECDSOS

“I understand the need to employ, especially our youth. But this is a smack in our faces… this is going to be inexperienced youth people monitoring us. If they paid us for the past 5 months of loss of income that would make more sense. Suddenly they have money but when we begged for help, they had no money. They could have supported us and kept centres open and people in jobs” Claudia ECD practitioner from Kraaifontein

“If government can assist taxis, trying to justify the corruption, looting and much more, why are they so blinded by the plight of ECD centres? Why can’t they help us?” Ilana ECD practitioner from East London

“My heart is shattered – so many lost jobs and ECD centres closed – for what?” Jen ECD practitioner from KZN.

“How can the youth monitor mother like us? They know nothing about kids and centres. It is totally rubbish” ECD practitioner from HammansKraal, Gauteng

On 30 July 2020 Minister Lindiwe Zulu announced that R1.3 billion out of the President’s economic stimulus package would be allocated to the employment of 36 000 youth compliance monitors for early childhood development programmes. As members of the ECD workforce we find this decision deeply disappointing and irrational. 176 000 direct ECD workforce jobs are at risk because of the pandemic and the national lockdown, with over 30 000 ECD centres set to close their doors permanently. In addition, over 900 000 children will be affected by the closure of these centres and one million other jobs that depend on access to childcare will be affected indirectly. The ECD workforce enables working families in townships, informal settlements, and rural areas to go to work with peace of mind, while they care and develop their children. Without ECD programmes in place, the burden of childcare will fall on women which severely compromises their ability to go out and seek income earning opportunities. R1.3 billion has the potential to sustain over 176 000 jobs in the ECD workforce. These jobs, many informal, are sustainable long-term jobs mostly pioneered by women entrepreneurs at the community level. Jobs are at risk of being lost forever if urgent support for our ECD workforce is not forthcoming.

Instead DSD wants to use the only additional allocation available to it as a department to support 36 000 short-term jobs. We cannot spend R1.3 billion for compliance monitoring and accountability without spending anything to ensure the continuity of the sector. If we do not support the current jobs in the sector now, frankly, there will be nothing to monitor. Since the start of the lockdown we have been campaigning for the ECD workforce to receive support from DSD to ensure its continuity. The majority of ECD centres and programmes do NOT receive any subsidy from government.

We call upon DSD to redirect this money to support ECD Continuity Grants that will flow directly to the ECD workforce for a period of 6 months. The money should support both registered and unregistered ECD programmes and those that are not currently receiving the DSD subsidy should be prioritised. We all want the ECD sector to survive and thrive and to capture the Ministers slogan of 2020 “NO CHILD SHOULD BE LEFT BEHIND” The future of our young children depends on them.

We want ALL our young children to learn, develop and be cared for in a safe, stimulating ECD programme with adequate and appropriate nutrition, health, and safety standards. We want sufficient support for the people (mostly marginalised women) and the early learning spaces they work in, who are developing the future generation and the future of our country. The ECD Continuity Grant is the best way we can move towards achieving this vision.

Issued by the C-19 People’s Coalition’s ECD Work Stream

For more information please contact:

Eric Atmore: 082 568 0200
Colleen Horswell-Daniels: 071 139 0999
Charmain Botha: 072 320 7333
Siphiwe : 072 023 6456
Yumna Allie 0845336746
Theodora (Gugulethu) 082 536 2871
Jen (Gauteng) 0725796749
Jennifer (Gauteng) 0721644939
Patsy Pillay (Durban) 084 421 0358

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