Original Research

Early Childhood Care and Education in Botswana: Implications for access and quality

Lebogang J. Pillar, Shanil J. Haricharan
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 13, No 1 | a1268 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v13i1.1268 | © 2023 Lebogang Joan Pillar, Shanil Jensen Haricharan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 September 2022 | Published: 26 June 2023

About the author(s)

Lebogang J. Pillar, Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, Faculty of Commerce, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Shanil J. Haricharan, Nelson Mandela School of Public Governance, Faculty of Commerce, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract

Background: The value of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is recognised as beneficial to the child and society. Research evidence on pre-primary ECCE access and quality in Sub-Saharan Africa is scarce.

Aim: The aim of this article is to examine Botswana’s pre-primary school programme in enhancing accessibility and quality of ECCE provision.

Setting: The study was conducted in 12 of the 24 primary schools implementing the pre-primary programme in a Gaborone sub-region.

Methods: Adaptations of the Levesque Access Framework and Woodhead Quality Framework were applied to this qualitative research study. Using semi-structured interviews, 11 pre-primary teachers, 5 school heads or Heads of Department, and 3 Principal Education Officers (PEO) were interviewed, and the data collected was analysed thematically.

Results: The findings suggest that the main barriers to the effective pre-primary programme rollout are supply-side and systemic. These barriers represent the public institutional environment (e.g. funding, inter-governmental co-ordination), policy design (e.g. the physical infrastructure delivery model, administrative barriers, enrolment policy), and programme implementation (enrolment practices, teaching personnel, learning materials, and assessment of learners).

Conclusion: Although over 600 public schools have implemented the pre-primary programme, meeting the objectives of universal access, equitability, inclusivity, and quality remains a challenge in Botswana, as in many other African countries.

Contribution: The findings offer research frameworks and evidence for understanding pre-primary ECCE accessibility and quality. Further, the research has policy, programmatic, and practice-based implications for pre-primary educators and policymakers.


Keywords

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE); inclusive access; equitable access; learners with special needs; ECCE quality indicators; infrastructure; Botswana.

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