Ilifa Labantwana commissioned a report on government funding for early childhood development in South Africa. The central question which the authors – Sonja Giese, Debbie Budlender, Lizette Berry, Steve Motlatla and Hombakazi Zide— asked is, “Can those who need it get it?”
The report provides an overview of the various sources of ECD funding - primarily sourced through the provincial Departments of Social Development and Education.
The report found that within these departments the targeting of available funding is relatively good in that it reaches poor children. However, it found that a substantial number of the poorest children do not access ECD because of a number of funding gaps and challenges, including:
- The lack of an obligation on the departments to fund ECD services, even for those in the poorest areas.
- Registration difficulties for both Grade R and ECD sites frustrate funding that has become dependent on a more complex process.
- Inconsistencies, inequity and difficulties in the application of the ECD subsidy means test.
The report recommends that:
- Better systems should be put in place to track funding and expenditure.
- Simplification of the registration process.
- Relaxing the minimum norms and standards for registration of sites.
- Better linkages between the different spheres of government to ensure better use of resources and avoid funding gaps.
- Improve equity in the provisioning of ECD across provinces and municipalities.
- Provide better training and access to information for ECD practitioners on ECD laws, provisioning and funding sources.
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