Cape Town - The Centre for Early Childhood Development (CECD) is making preparations for a three-day countrywide protest to pressure the Department of Social Development (DSD) to release the 2020 Presidency Early Childhood Development Employment Stimulus Relief Fund.
According to the non-profit organisation, the DSD failed to deliver on its promise to facilitate the funds and payout to early childhood development centres (ECDs) by March 31, resulting in hundreds of ECDs buckling under the strain of Covid-19 and closing down.
CECD director Eric Artmore said that after conducting two surveys, last year and earlier this year, the non-profit had seen the bleak reality for many ECDs across the country.
Artmore said: “Only 20% of the ECDs that were running last year before Covid-19 are still running this year. That not only means that thousands of women have lost their livelihoods, but that children in need living in some of the country’s underprivileged communities are losing out on essential education.
“It’s terrible that the situation has gotten to this point in a couple of years. The country will feel the pinch of that when we have to facilitate pupils who struggle with basic functions like literacy and numeracy. The government needs to account for its actions and do the right thing. Of the R1.3 billion the president announced, only R497 million was approved. Where is the rest of the money?”
Regarding the allocation of the stimulus funds, the provincial Department of Social Development said the initiative was headed by the national department, and its part had only been to urge ECDs in the province to apply.
The national department was approached for comment, but did not respond.