Strong collaboration between key role-players in the province recently proved that although the education sector in South Africa may be faced with various challenges, great strides can still be made when working together.
During a prestigious graduation ceremony recently held at Penreach, 80 Penreach Early Childhood Development (ECD) practitioners were recognized for their hard work and dedication to obtain an accredited qualification. Of the 80 practitioners, 26 received their full qualification, completing 140 credits, whilst 54 received a partial qualification.
According to Ms Thulile Makofane, Penreach ECD Director, what made this achievement even more special is the perseverance the practitioners have shown who sometimes had to push through difficult circumstances to obtain their qualification.
“The practitioners come from disadvantaged communities such as Bushbuckridge, Kabokweni, Masoyi, Hendrina and Elukwatini. Their income range from as little as R500 per month and most of them are not employed by government but by the community ECD centres who also struggle financially,” she explained.
But, with the help of the National Development Agency, the Alliance Church, Penreach, the Mpumalanga Department of Social Development and the Department of Education the challenge was soon turned into an opportunity.
In assisting the government who prioritized ECD, Penreach realized the need for a programme like this to help move South Africa forward and soon start playing the role of not only trainer and mentor but also supporter in the classrooms.
The NDA partnered with Penreach in the training of 30 ECD practitioners from the Bushbuckridge area, whilst the Alliance Church partnered for practitioners around Kabokweni and Hendrina.
According to Makofane this programme allows the graduates to be employed anywhere in South Africa as ECD practitioners and is also an advancement to the next level which might be funded by the Department of Basic Education, which equals registration with SACE as an educator.
The MEC of Social Development, Ms Busi Shiba, congratulated Penreach for the significant role they are playing in the area of ECD and pledged their support to organizations that are prepared to lobby funds for the training of ECD practitioners, especially those form previously disadvantaged communities.