24 April 2012

SADTU supports the global campaign for quality early childhood education

The South African Democratic Teachers` Union joins millions of teachers, students and education activists around the world in calling on public authorities and development partners to ensure that all young children have access to quality early childhood education (ECE).

This call is made during and after the Global Action Week (GAW) for Education which began on 22 until 28 April under the theme, "Early Childhood Care and Education" with the slogan, "Rights from the start: Early Childhood Care and Education Now!"

The Global Campaign for Education (GCE) of which Education International (EI) is the founding member chose the theme - Early Childhood Care and Education because of its enormous individual and societal benefits. Unfortunately, according to EI, early childhood education (ECE) remains one of the most neglected Education For All (EFA) goals.
EI is a global teacher and education employees` federation union representing 30 million education employees worldwide in about 400 organizations in 170 countries. South Africa`s biggest teacher and education employees union, SADTU is a member of EI.
Education for All is a global movement led by UNESCO with a commitment to provide quality basic education for all children, youth and adults by 2015.

This year, GCE, EI and its affiliates, are calling upon governments to ensure that at least one percent of gross domestic product is dedicated to early childhood services. We also call upon donors to honour their commitments to support all countries to achieve Education For All goals, especially Goal One which calls for expanding and improving comprehensive early childhood care and education more especially for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen said, "The ECE sector continues to be affected by a myriad of challenges in a number of countries, including low levels of public investment, poor infrastructure and the shortage of qualified teachers. The ECE sector, like other education levels, has also been hard-hit by the financial, economic and debt crises."

The partners also urge governments to take measures to overcome all forms of discrimination and guarantee quality early childhood care and education provision to boys and girls, children from poor and disadvantaged backgrounds, children with disabilities and those in emergency situations and marginalized communities. They demand higher standards for teacher education and improved conditions of service for ECE personnel.

Some of the demands are in line with some of the resolutions taken at SADTU`s Education Policy Conference held in March. The Conference called for among other things, the improvement of conditions of service, training, certification and recruitment of early childhood practitioners.

ISSUED BY: SADTU Secretariat