An investigation into the implementation of early childhood development policy in early childhood centres (A study of the Fisantekraal, northern district, Cape Town, South Africa)
The White Paper on Education and training defines ECD as the process by which children 0 – 9 grow and thrive in all respects. The main focus of ECD’s is to ensure that children are thriving, by providing a solid foundation for physical, emotional, cognitive and overall healthy development of children (UNICEF, 2005). Therefore a critical factor for educational achievement is access to ECD. In redressing the exclusion of the past in ECD the equity enshrined in the white paper on Education and training (1995) and the Reconstruction and development program (RDP) suggest that government act as the key agent for ‘levelling the playing field’ . This would greatly benefit the historically disadvantaged children which are the majority within South Africa (Department Basic Education, 2001). The challenge is to establish in which way the playing field are bring levelled to increase ascertain ECD programs for all children in general, and poor children in particular. Thus the implementation of quality programs becomes a matter of urgency (UNICEF, 2005). Many ECD centres have been established around the world and in South Africa, very few studies have been conducted concerning the implementation of government policy in terms of ECD centres. As stated in the Convention on the Right of the Child and the African charter on the Rights and the welfare of the child. The South African constitutions in regard to Act 108 of 1996 include the Bill of Rights, with policies and plans that are in one place to ensure that the rights of children in the Early Childhood Developmental stage are met (Child institute, 2007/2008). This research investigates the implementation of government ECD policy in the three sectors of government policy which need to be adhered to. Namely the criteria stipulated by the Educational Department, Social Development as well as the Department of Health. The study shall ascertain whether these policies are indeed being implemented. New ECD programs include the ECD integrated Plan with a focus on parent education, in addition to Expanded Public Works Program which also includes the training of parents (Biersterker & Kvalsig, 2007 :pp 1200). The research objectives are namely to examine the implementation of ECD policy which covers all three departments that of; Education, Social Development and Health. To develop a legislative and conceptual framework to underpin the study Identify challenges and opportunities from primary data and draw conclusions Make recommendations Specific research questions addresses in this study: •To determine what processes are in place to ensure effective and efficient implementation of the ECD policy. •To ascertain what specific challenges are faced by ECD centres staff during the implementation of policy. •The relevance of the policies to the intended Institutions. A qualitative study method shall be adopted. The instrument (questionnaire) will be issued to participants namely head/principal or teacher in charge of ECD centres. The questionnaire shall be followed up with a focus group, which shall include head of ECD’s as well as active parents from communities/governing bodies. The researcher undertakes the responsibility of providing and examining the level of competences. The researcher shall be responsible in conducting the research, with integrity and maintain honesty and fairness at all times. The participants are assured that the information shared during the discussions would be used solely for the study and no other publications. The researcher shall uphold the right for any participant to withdraw from the process if they no longer wish to participate. Only respondents who provide consent to being a part of this process shall participate.