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LISTEN | If we do not support the jobs in the sector now, there will be nothing to monitor: says Covid-19 People’s Coalition

21 August 2020 - 06:22 By Amina Deka Asma
The Covid-19 People’s Coalition - Early Childhood Development (ECD) stream is calling for the department of social development to redirect funds to support and sustain long-term jobs that currently exist in the sector.
The Covid-19 People’s Coalition - Early Childhood Development (ECD) stream is calling for the department of social development to redirect funds to support and sustain long-term jobs that currently exist in the sector.
Image: 123RF/rawpixel

The Covid-19 People’s Coalition — Early Childhood Development (ECD) stream is calling for the department of social development (DSD) to redirect funds to support and sustain long-term jobs that now exist in the sector.

In a statement, the coalition has highlighted its disappointment in the department's decision to direct R1.3bn in economic stimulus for youth compliance monitors as opposed to supporting and sustaining the jobs that face the risk of being lost.

Here is what the coalition had to say:

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“As members of the ECD workforce we find this decision deeply disappointing and irrational. 176,000 direct ECD workforce jobs are at risk because of the pandemic and the national lockdown, with more than 30,000 ECD centres set to close their doors permanently.

“If we do not support the jobs in the sector now, frankly, there will be nothing to monitor,” said C-19 Gauteng representative Jennifer McQuillan.

The coalition further explained what the closure of these ECD centres would mean.

“In addition, more than 900 000 children will be affected by the closure of these centres and one million other jobs that depend on access to childcare will be affected indirectly. The ECD workforce enables working families in townships, informal settlements, and rural areas to go to work with peace of mind, while they care and develop their children.

“Without ECD programmes in place, the burden of childcare will fall on women, which severely compromises their ability to go out and seek income earning opportunities,” read the statement.

An ECD practitioner from Kraaifontein echoed the coalition's sentiments.

“I understand the need to employ, especially our youth. But this is a smack in our faces ... this is going to be inexperienced youth people monitoring us. If they paid us for the past five months of loss of income that would make more sense. Suddenly they have money but when we begged for help, they had no money. They could have supported us and kept centres open and people in jobs,” she said.

Another practitioner said, “My heart is shattered — so many lost jobs and ECD centres closed — for what? Why can’t the government help us?” 

Part of their call to the department relates to the redirection of funds to be poured into ECD continuity grants that will support the workforce.

“The money should support both registered and unregistered ECD programmes and those that are not now receiving the DSD subsidy should be prioritised. We all want the ECD sector to survive and thrive and to capture the minister's slogan of 2020: 'No child should be left behind.’ The future of our young children depends on them,” read their statement.

“The DSD, in partnership with the National Lotteries Commission’s infrastructure legacy project, will develop 203 organisations across the country, at a cost of more than R460m. Communities in the North West can look forward to receiving 28 new ECD centres,” read the department's latest announcement.


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