This was revealed by Social Development MEC Nandi May-ethula-Khoza in reply to a written question in the provincial legislature by DA Gauteng shadow MEC Refiloe Nt’sekhe.
ECD practitioners are crucial in the development of children between zero to six years, as they are taught the basics they will require to flourish at primary school.
Nt’sekhe said the practitioners must understand how children develop mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually and socially through this period in their lives in order to help them.
“It is important to understand these fundamentals,” she said.
“These years are a critical stage of development which has a huge influence on a child’s future and his or her potential to excel academically in later years.”
Nt’sekhe said that early childhood development is particularly crucial where children come from environments of poverty and deprivation, adding that if practitioners were not properly equipped, it would have a negative impact on the child’s learning abilities.
The DA has called on Mayathu-la-Khoza and Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi to urgently ensure that all ECD practitioners are equipped with the necessary skills and qualifications.
“Total change is needed to ensure that our vulnerable young children are given the best foundation to prepare them for their schooling career,” the party said.