Campaign launches for Real Reform for Early Childhood Development (ECD)

Overview: Why reform is needed

Legislative amendments being proposed in Parliament are a missed opportunity to improve the lives of millions of children. In response, a campaign has been launched to urgently ensure that real reform of the legal framework for ECD is taken seriously.

The majority of children in South Africa do not have access to quality childhood development services. Currently 3.2 million children are not accessing any ECD programmes . Of those who do access some form of ECD programme, 2.9 million children are in unregistered programmes and only 800 654 children in registered centres. Only 626 574 (25%) of the children who need it are obtaining subsidised learning. This is a recipe for disaster when more than 6 out of 10 children face extreme poverty. Worse still, the effects of extreme poverty on children will have life-long consequences.

Right now the laws and rules governing early childhood development services are overly complicated, onerous and restrictive and many early childhood development programmes cannot get registered or funded. This affects programmes in poor communities the most.

The government has just published for public comment the Children’s Amendment Bill (“ the Bill ”), which proposes various changes to the Children’s Act. Unfortunately, the Bill does not solve the problems for early childhood development — and in some ways, it can make things worse . That is why over 50 NGOs, ECD providers and practitioners are now supporting a new campaign calling for Real Reform for the ECD sector.

We want to show Parliament, the Department of Social Development and the Department of Basic Education that the voices of parents, practitioners and ECD providers matters. That our experience of the rules and systems in place, matters. We will actively participate in the Parliamentary process pushing for the reforms we know the sector needs.

We are rallying behind the following Five Reforms:

Reform 1 : A one-step registration process for ECD providers. Different types of ECD programme providers including playgroups, toy libraries and home-based care must be regulated differently. A one-size-fits-all approach is not appropriate.

Reform 2: All children attending any type of ECD programme should be able to access the early learning subsidy if they need it.

Reform 3 : Simpler, adequate health, safety and programme standards must be in place and must be assessed through one process.

Reform 4 : It must be made clear that ECD providers can get conditional registration if they can’t meet all the registration requirements . MECs must support providers servicing poor communities to meet registration requirements and they must be required to report to the Minister on progress achieved.

Reform 5 : The infrastructure needs of the sector must be supported . ECD providers (including on private land) should be able to receive support and municipalities must be required to provide for and maintain sufficient and appropriate ECD infrastructure in their regions.

We are calling on practitioners, parents and caregivers to support the campaign for Real Reform for ECD by the doing the following:

  1. Make a submission to Parliament before the 27 November 2020. For more information on how, visit:
  2. Sign our petition here:
  3. Add your name to the call for Real Reform for ECD at or WhatsApp 0720171682 to join. Make your voice heard!

Statement Issued by the Campaign for Real Reform for ECD
To find out who already supports our campaign visit our website:
For further information or to arrange an interview:
Clayton Morar (Public Relations Officer)
Phone: 074 1941766

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