Sustainability of early childhood development sites in selected rural areas

Knaap, Margriet (2000-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study is guided by the question: what is done to sustain early childhood development (ECD) in South Africa? The research is conducted in is selected rural areas in Namaqualand and the Karoo. A selection of ECD centres is taken as the study material. In depth interviews and workshops were conducted with various role-players connected to ECD to provide case material for analysis. Apart from the findings of this research the study concludes with a number of recommendations of how to address questions of sustainability, self-reliance and development of these centres and the communities they are located in. The study is contextualised within the situation of wide-spread and ingrained poverty amongst the communities living in rural areas in South Africa. The study pleas for explicit educational policy reforms, a stronger role to be played by government institutions on all levels and by community institutions such as churches, the empowerment of . women and the organisational reform of ECD centres. The overall theme is that the education of young people is paramount to the development of communities. The self-reliance of the centres is primarily depended on the sustainability of community life as a network of social and economic relations. The first chapter introduces the research problem, the reasons why this study is deemed necessary and a framework of the research process. It includes a description of the context and methodology of the study. The second chapter outlines the concepts of self-reliance, development and sustainability from the point of view of the progressive and participatory paradigms, the basic requirements for sustainable development, such as lifelong learning for all people and the interdependencies that enhances progress and development. Chapter three is devoted to Early Childhood Development (ECD). A historical overview and the current status of ECD, including government policy, in South Africa is presented. The gaps existing between the different echelons that are directly or indirectly involved in ECD are identified. The fourth chapter deals with ECD sites. Their objectives and the benefits for ECD education as well as care-taking strategies are described and researched. The multidimensional purposes and tasks with respect to children and parents as well as the community are especially highlighted. Chapter five develops the integrating function of ECD sites within community further. The focus is on the various interdependencies and relationships between an ECD site and its environment. The role of parents, women and their ties with ECD and local churches, especially within rural communities, is analysed. Also, the wider community, the different organisations that has relationships with ECD, the practical utility of networks, and the contribution of government structures are dealt with. Chapter six outlines the conditions that will enhance and enable an ECD site to become more sustainable and self-reliant. Finally, chapter seven proposes conclusions and recommendationsflowing from this study. The most basic condition is education and learning. The idea of a culture of lifelong learning for all is stressed and it is proposed that this should start at the youngest possible age. ECDs should therefore have a strong impact on learning. The main contributors to this process are women, local churches, the different tiers of government and lastly, funding organisations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie word gelei deur die vraag: wat word gedoen om die volhoubaarheid van vroeë kinderontwikkeling (ECD) in Suid-Afrika te verseker? Die navorsing is in geselekteerde landelike gebiede van Namakwaland en die Karoo uitgevoer. 'n Seleksie van ECD sentrums is as studiemateriaal gebruik. In diepte onderhoude en werkswinkels is onderneem met verskeie rolspelers in ECD om toepaslike gegewens vir ontleding te verskaf. Afgesien van die bevindinge van die ondersoek wat beskryf word, kom die studie tot gevolgtrekkings en aanbevelings oor hoe om die volhoubaarheid, selfvoorsiening en ontwikkeling van hierdie sentrums en die gemeenskappe waarin hulle gevestig is, te verseker. Die ondersoek is gekontekstualiseer binne die situasie van wydverspreide en ingegroeide armoede in die gemeenskappe van landelike gebiede in Suid-Afrika. Dit lewer 'n pleidooi vir uitdruklike opvoedkundige beleidshervormnings, 'n sterker rol deur regeringsinstansies op alle vlakke en deur gemeenskapsinstellings soos kerke, die bemagtiging van vroue en die organisatoriese hervorming van ECD sentrums. Die algehele tema is dat die opvoeding van jong mense allesoorheersend is in die ontwikkeling van gemeenskappe. Die selfvoorsiening van hierdie sentrums is primêr afhanklik van die volhoubaarheid van die gemeenskapslewe as 'n netwerk van sosiale en ekonomiese verhoudings. Die eerste hoofstuk stel die navorsingsprobleem, die redes waarom die ondersoek as noodsaaklik beskou word en 'n raamwerk vir die navorsingsproses bekend. Dit sluit in 'n beskrywing van die konteks en metodologie van die studie. Die tweede hoofstuk bied 'n uiteensetting van die begrippe selfvoorsiening, ontwikkeling en volhoubaarheid. Dit word gedoen vanuit die oogpunt van progressiewe en deelnemende paradigmas. Verder word die basiese vereistes vir volhoubare ontwikkeling, soos lewenslange leer vir alle mense en die interafhanklikhede wat vooruitgang en ontwikkeling sal verhoog, aangedui. Hoofstuk drie is gewy aan vroeë kinderontwikkeling (ECD). 'n Historiese oorsig en die huidige stand van ECD, insluitende die owerheidsbeleid, in Suid-Afrika word aangebied. Die gapings tussen die verskillende vlakke wat direk of indirek betrokke is by ECDword uitgewys. Die vierde hoofstuk handeloor ECD sentrums. Hulle doelstellings en die voordele vir ECD opvoeding sowel as sorg strategieë word beskryf en nagevors. Die multidimensionele oogmerke en take met verwysing na kinders en ouers asook die gemeenskap word veral beklemtoon. Hoofstuk vyf ontwikkel die integreringsfunksie van ECD verder. Die fokus is die verskeie interafhanklikhede en verhoudings tussen 'n ECD sentrum en sy omgewing. Die rol van ouers, vroue en hulle bande met ECD en plaaslike kerke, veral in landelike gemeenskappe, word ontleed. Verder word ook gekyk na die wyer gemeenskap, die verskillende organisasies wat in verhouding staan met ECD, die praktiese waarde van netwerke en die bydrae van die owerheid. Hoofstuk ses gee 'n oorsig van die voorwaardes wat 'n ECD sentrum se volhoubaarheid en selfvoorsiening sal verhoog en bemagtig. Ten slotte stel hoofstuk sewe gevolgtrekkings en aanbevelings wat uit die studie spruit, voor. Die mees basies voorwaarde is opvoeding en leer. Die idee van 'n kultuur van lewenslange leer vir almal word beklemtoon en dit word voorgestel dat dit op die vroegs moontlike ouderdom 'n aanvang neem. ECDs behoort daarom 'n sterk impak op leer te hê. Die hoof bydraers hiertoe is vroue, plaaslike kerke, die verskillende vlakke van regering, en ten slotte befondsingsorganisasies.

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