Are ECDs and creches really opening on 6 July?

Lesedi day care is pictured in Alex, 11 February 2019. Picture: Tracy Lee Stark

Things change quickly when it comes to the department of basic education and school openings.

At the end of May, the department of basic education (DBE) sent out guidelines stating that with the announcement that South African schools could reopen on 1 June (which later became 8 June) after the almost three months long school closures due to the coronavirus.

This for Early Childhood Development Centres (ECD) meant they could open from 6 July. According to a DBE media statement dated 30 May, 2020, the DBE says: “In the regulations published on 29 May 2020, the department outlines that grades R, 3, 6, 10, 11 and Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres will return to the school grounds on 6 July 2020.”

Also Read: ECDs, creches can open from 6 July

But, as we are aware, the department has moved opening dates out before as proven by the shifting of the 1 June school reopening date to 8 June. The lack of clarity of where this sector will open has a major impact as this is a sector that serves many children, many of them from lower-income households.

Also Read: Check here to confirm dates for when your child’s grade will return to school

So what of the 6 July ECD centres’ opening date? This is what we know so far:

  • There is certainly mixed messaging in terms of the reopening of ECDs.
  • On 29 May, the department issued directions for ECDs to reopen on July 6.
  • But according to the Daily Maverick, they then later clarified that this only applies to ECD programmes that are provided by schools.

Meanwhile, parents with kids in creche wait on clarity from the DBE.

Kgomotso Maake, whose daughter attends an ECD centre in Dosbsonville, said: “We have heard nothing from the department and it’s really frustrating because I’ve gone back to work now and have had to ask relatives to assist me with looking after my daughter.”

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