Pampierstad - The Northern Cape Department of Education recently launched a Model Grade R class at Pabalelo Primary School. The Model Grade R class is designed to have a safe, clean and secure child friendly environment that will enable children to develop their fullest potential.


When speaking at the event, Director: ECD Directorate Ms Palesa Thulo expressed the importance of Model Grade R classrooms by stating that if the foundation in Grade R is not solid, the benefit for learning later on will be negatively affected.


We need to ensure that the foundation is solid so that we can build a nation of children who can read, write and count. Early intervention and stimulation of young children maximises their potential, the early years are critical for the acquisition of skills and concepts laying the foundation for lifelong learning.


It is everyone’s collective responsibility to invest in Early Childhood Development and we as a department are aware that more needs to be done to sustain the increased access and to improve quality educational experience for all children. The skill of teachers has been singled out as being of paramount importance to our country’s advancement.


This campaign is intended to build on the positive spinoffs that we have achieved as a Province. We have made progress in achieving universal access to quality basic education but we need to work harder to ensure quality education at all levels of education.


The ECD budget has grown from R25 727 in 2008/2009 to R89 million in 2015/16. Given the growth in the budget the number of public schools offering Grade R increased from 40, 8% in 2009 to 93% in 2015. Conditions of service were slightly improved for Early Childhood Development practitioners who saw an increase in their salaries, from R1350 in 2006 to R5000 since 2012 per month paid through the PERSAL system.


We are proud to announce that 80 Grade R practitioners and 50 care-givers are trained on the Diploma in Grade R teaching by the North West University from 2015-2017. Fifty additional Grade R practitioners from De Aar Solar Energy power and Droogfontein Solar Energy Power are to be trained on the same programme funded by Globeleq. Furthermore, 20 additional practitioners will be funded by AECIONA in Gamagara areas in 2016. A tender for another 100 practitioners has been advertised and the appointed service provider will start in 2016-2019. We call upon private sectors to continue to assist and support the department in this endeavour.


As we have launched this campaign, we call on all stakeholders especially parents to embrace it; it is integral to making quality of learning and teaching a key priority throughout the education system.