Nobel Prize winner for Economic Sciences (2000), James Heckman once said “Early childhood development is the most powerful investment in human capital that a country can make.” And while the National Development Plan (NDP) of 2015 commits to ensuring that every child in South Africa has access to the full range of Early Childhood Development (ECD) services by 2030. It recognises that this goal will only be possible with innovative public-private partnerships.
Numerous studies have shown that poor early learning foundations set children on a poor education trajectory. In South Africa, only half of three-four year olds participate in any early learning programme, and only half of these children attend programmes of sufficient quality to address critical gaps. On top of that, many ECD centres are under-resourced and lack the essential infrastructure to function as safe, efficient, and effective schools. Failure to invest properly in ECD services for our young children has meant that patterns of education and employment have not fundamentally changed.
“Poor infrastructure, crowded classrooms and unhygienic sanitation continue to dog education outcomes, and decisive action and investment has to be taken in order to ensure every South African child has access to quality education,” says Chantelle Fritz, PNA marketing manager. She continues, “One of the pillars of our Corporate Social Responsibility efforts is education. We need to give every South African child a chance for a better future. PNA is excited to work with Breadline Africa towards funding and building three ECD schools, by Mandela Day 2022.”
Beyond providing safe infrastructure and stimulating learning environments, Breadline Africa extends its support to school principals and teachers. The organisation provides ongoing, onsite support for up to three years, so that the schools have access to teaching and learning materials, mentorships and training, as well as school feeding schemes.
Breadline Africa has identified three schools in need of a complete facility overhaul: The Sunrise Educare Centre is located in Site B, Khayelitsha, Western Cape with a beneficiary count of 50 children, aged six months to five years old. And two Eastern Cape preschools, KwaNdayi Pre-school and Dudmeni Pre-school, are located in Gwabeni, Mbizana and collectively support 124 children, aged 0-5 years.
“Our support for these schools won’t stop here, we encourage our franchise owners and staff to connect with the principals. They will find ways to help the schools, whether it be library book drives, helping with feeding schemes or donating stationery. This is a chance to show how transformative a decent school environment can be,” says Fritz.