Government has announced that pupils who do not attend Early Childhood Development (ECD) classes at registered institutions will no longer be able to proceed to Grade One and this new system comes into effect next year.The move is in response to the mushrooming of unregistered child day care centres across cities and towns. Speaking at Mpumelelo Primary School in Mpopoma after awarding the school the Secretary’s Merit Award for 2017, Secretary for Primary and Secondary Education Dr Sylvia Utete-Masango said all parents who enrolled their children at unregistered centres were wasting time.
Dr Utete-Masango said: “Because so many parents have turned out here today, I want to say this very clearly so that those who did not know will no longer use ‘I did not know’ as an excuse. Do not take your children to bogus ECD centres. These ones that have sprouted around cities that are not registered are causing problems. They are so cunning and inviting and purport to be elitist and uphold so called high standards like being English speaking only institutions. Be warned!
Children will not proceed to grade one. They will need to go to a conventional institution and start from the beginning, at ECD like everybody else. Imagine your child at seven or eight joining four-year olds in the ECD A class because of their parents’ decision,” she said.
She applauded the parents at the school for supporting activities by their attendance. “I am glad that the parents here came in their numbers to support their children, unlike what I saw in other schools where you could barely see a parent in attendance,” she said.
The Perm Sec advised school heads and development committees to prioritise infrastructure development for ECD pupils, which she said was yet to reach the required standards at most schools around the country.
“Put your priorities right. There should be proper infrastructure in all schools, especially for our ECD pupils. Pupils are learning in makeshift classrooms yet schools are busy purchasing buses, which cost around $200 000. Yes, it is true, we have seen it happening, not once,” said Dr Utete-Masango.
Mpumelelo Primary School opened its doors in 1961 with 7 teachers and 201 pupils. Today, it has a 33 teachers and 1 315 pupils. It was receiving the Secretary’s Bell award for the first time.
The prize comprised of 45 laptops for an e-learning classroom, a Projector and an interactive board, all worth $10 000. The prize was sponsored by FBC Bank.