TRAINING TO IMPROVE IMPACT AND QUALITY OF ECD EDUCATION IN JOHN TAOLO GAETSEWE DISTRICT
John Taolo Gaetsewe District, August 2023
Despite the country’s 42 000 Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres, which care for 1.2 million and employ close on 200 000 staff, it is estimated that 65% of young children are failing to thrive. This reality points to the need to upskill practitioners so that the quality of education can improve, considering that these early years provide the foundation for literacy and numeracy, informing the impact of later learning.
With a mandate to provide training and mentorship in order that children in the John Taola Gaetsewe (JTG) District can receive a quality early education, no matter the context that the school and community find themselves in, Kathu Solar Park is funding the implementation of a programme that reaches 75 ECD practitioners, across 25 centres.
“Being a part of this training programme is helping me a lot, by improving myself with knowledge and abilities that will match with various skills that we are using at our centre, and it will also give me a chance to try new things that will benefit all of us,” said programme participant Pelanomi Petrus, from Thusanang Pre School in Kuruman.
This training of ECD practitioner’s forms part of an overarching 3-year programme, which is benefiting 2 000 children in the JTG District, a partnership with the Northern Cape Department of Education, aimed to effectively increase the accessibility and quality of early learning opportunities for young children, as well as provide employment opportunities and financial security for women in communities.
“This training programme focuses on the implementation of teaching and learning. It focuses on skills development and is not an accredited programme. It is rather designed to work irrespective of accreditation but instead to help a teacher to acquire a shift in understanding around quality ECD regardless of what qualification they may already hold. It is intended to revitalize teachers who have been in the profession for a long time and for new teachers to be inspired to offer the best possible education to their young learners,” said Cheryl Persensie, Economic Development Manager for Kathu Solar Park.
With a view to ensuring sustainable and meaningful change beyond the short term, the programme encompasses in-person sessions, mentoring online and access to local facilitators that are being trained to continue with implementation support once the project comes to an end beyond the three years.
“It is a fact that well-educated teachers deliver quality education that is efficient and also more effective, helping to care for children in a holistic way. Hence, this training is a key component of the total programme that will help to strengthen and promote quality ECD services and holistic development for children in this District,” added Persensie, who also notes that the funding is part of Kathu Solar Park’s Socio-Economic Development strategy, which has a key focus on education and skills development.
Themes and topics are covered in the training programme: creativity; multiple learning pathways; climate; collaboration; curriculum planning for playful learning using the National Curriculum Framework: Birth to 4 years (NCF) and Curriculum, Assessment and Policy Statement (CAPS); infrastructure; enriched assessment; and experiential learning.
Kathu Solar Park, through its leading Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) technology, commenced operations on 30 January 2019, to deliver renewable energy to South Africa’s national grid.
Located in the Northern Cape Province, it is one of a few projects of its type in the country, and forms part of the government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) Programme, delivering jobs, socio-economic benefits and clean power.
The shareholders consist of Engie; the Government Employees Pension Fund (PIC); SIOC Community Development Trust; Revego; ; Lereko Metier