Nelson Mandela Foundation

The Nelson Mandela Foundation and the Gauteng Department of Education have entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) centred around Early Childhood Development (ECD) registration support. This support encompasses the Foundation providing the Department with two ECD Registration support personnel who will assist them in fast-tracking the processing of registration files, for a period of 12 months. The support will also encompass the Foundation assisting the Department in thinking through its internal provincial ECD service registration process with the aim of streamlining the process where possible. This project falls within the auspices of the Vangasali campaign that is aimed at increasing the rate of ECD service registration nationally, and is over and above the support that the Foundation is already providing to the province as part of the Vangasali campaign.

With Gauteng having the largest number of unregistered ECD services in the country, the Foundation recognises that making progress in this province translates into making progress nationally. ECD registration is critical as it enables ECD services (which includes ECD centres as well as non-centre based ECD services) to access government’s system of support. For ECD centres being registered enables them to qualify for government’s R17 per child per day subsidy while for non-centre programmes they can access a subsidy of R6 (per session per child for qualifying programmes). 

The R17 per child per day subsidy for ECD centres is paid for by provinces with their equitable share as well as with the ECD conditional grant. In terms of the ECD conditional grant, this has two components: the infrastructure component and the subsidy component, with the overall goal of the grant being to increase access to quality early childhood development (ECD) services for poor children. According to the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) allocations, the subsidy component of the grant will be increasing to R1.7 billion in 2024/2025 and R2.2 billion in 2025/2026 from R1.1 billion in 2023/2024. 

With the grant increasing in the coming years, provinces need to ensure that they are pipelining more ECD centres into the registration process and getting them registered. In the absence of this, portions of the subsidy could go unspent as there may not be enough ECD centres that are getting registered with their respective provincial departments of education – with registration being a requirement to being subsidised. This would be a travesty seeing that nationally only 40% of ECD services are registered with only 33% being subsidised. 

The Foundation is looking forward to working together with the Department of Education to ensure that no child is left behind.