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ECD in Africa

Early Childhood Development & South Africa

The environment in which children spend their early years has significant impact on their later cognitive, emotional and physical development. Scholars estimate that the half of all intellectual development potential is established by the age of four.

Very few South African children receive adequate early childhood education and much of the pre-schooling which does occur, takes place in cramped, dilapidated and unhygienic conditions.

The end result is that many six an seven years old enter the formal schooling system drastically unprepared, which results in frustration and poor learning and high rates of grade repetition, failure and dropping out.

ECD in South Africa

  • 1 in 6 South Africa children have access to ECD (2001 – Education White Paper on ECD)
  • White children have better quality of ECD services than children of color, Indian or African
  • ECD provision significantly lower in rural areas than formal urban areas
  • ECD services access, quality and quantity significantly lower for children from poor rural areas than children from higher income urban areas
  • Rural children – more likely to suffer exclusion from ECD, physical growth, emotional and cognitive development

Eastern Cape

  • the 2nd largest of South Africa’s nine provinces
  • the area – 169,000 square kilometers
  • 65% (almost 7 million people) live in rural areas. Most of these areas are ex-homeland under the apartheid government’s deliberate strategy
  • low population density – 7 people per square kilometer
  • unemployment rate of the district – 35% (estimated to be higher in the remote rural areas)