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Thursday, August 11, 2022

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EXPLAINER: Everything you need to know about the Department of Education’s take over of Early Childhood Development centres

From April 1, the Department of Basic Education will take over Early Childhood Development Centres.

From April 1, the Department of Basic Education will take over Early Childhood Development Centres.

Published Mar 11, 2022

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From April 1, the Department of Basic Education will take over Early Childhood Development Centres from the department of Social Development.

President Cyril Ramaphosa signed a proclamation transferring powers of the ECD function to the Basic Education Minister last year.

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He said the two departments had established various governance structures to ensure a seamless transfer of responsibilities.

In a statement, Ramaphosa said the departments had further reached consensus on the scope of the function shift.

"Provisions from both Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 of the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005) have been identified for transfer. Based on the recommendation from the Office of the Chief State Law Advisors, we have drafted two Proclamations.

“The first Proclamation is signed by the President, while the second Proclamation is signed by the Premiers for the transfer of power and functions to the MEC responsible for Basic Education in each province," he said.

What will change?

The DBE will become responsible for ensuring universal availability and adequate quality o, and equitable access to inclusive learning opportunities for children, from birth until the year before they enter formal school.

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What will it mean for the owners of ECD programmes?

Since the largest majority of ECD programmes are owned by NGOs, communities and private institutions rather than the Department of Social Development, they will not be affected by the function shift. The Department of Education will be responsible for support, subsidise and regulate the programmes according to the specifications in Chapter 5 and 6 of the Children's Act.

Where does the function shift come from?

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During the February 2019 SONA, President Cyril Ramaphosa directed that the "responsibility for ECD centres will be migrated from the DSD to DBE.

What is a Proclamation and what does it mean for ECDs?

This means that the DBE will become responsible for everything that DSD was responsible for in terms of delivering, funding, registering, monitoring and supporting the ECD sector.

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