Cotlands welcomes investment in basic education
NGO fears were alleviated when Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan issued a fairly non-threatening budget speech for 2013/2014.
While NGOs waited to hear the minister’s take on the de-registration of an estimated 36 000 NGOs by the Department of Social Development and the Department of Trade and Industry’s plan to reduce black economic empowerment points that business donors receive for grants to NGOs whose beneficiaries are not 100 per cent black, the Minister shied away from these controversial topics, opting to focus his attention on job creation and a crackdown on corruption.
However, the Minister also included in his speech a much needed boost to basic education and social development.
Government’s recognition of the importance of grade R by allocating additional funds to increase enrolment is encouraging. However, we would like to see more urgency in providing developmental services to the 0 to 4 year group as well, as this is the foundation phase for learning.
Cotlands maintains that the first thousand days of a child’s life is vitally important in establishing the potential for the child’s life-long learning. In these developmental years, children are taught the skills and social lessons that they will practice in later life.
Should we continue to not present opportunities for a firm grounding in the early years of their life, we will perpetuate the cycle of a high matric failure rate and of poverty. Without an emphasis on early childhood learning today, we believe that the Finance Minister may repeat his urgent call for job creation for the youth and skills development years to come.
Cotlands was pleased with the news that the Department of Social Development will increase funding for social workers. Psychosocial barriers do not only impact negatively on a child’s social and emotional development, but also on their cognitive and physical development. If we are to truly serve young children today, we need to make sure that we address their health, education and psychosocial needs, and the increased spending for Grade R and social workers is at least a start towards achieving this.
We look forward in years to come to government investing larger sums of money into tomorrow’s adults.
National Marketing & PR Manager
For more information about Cotlands visit www.cotlands.org follow us on twitter @cotlands or like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/cotlands.