Original Research

Can pre-grade R be the stepping stone to social equality in South Africa

Janeli Kotze
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 5, No 2 | a388 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajce.v5i2.388 | © 2015 Janeli Kotze | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 December 2015 | Published: 07 December 2015

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Janeli Kotze, University of Stellenbosch

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Investment in Early Childhood Development (ECD) has the prospect of cultivating potential within individuals and can assist in bridging the social equity gap from a very young age. Over the past decade Grade R has been the strongest policy lever used by the Department of Basic Education to improve early learning. The National Development Plan calls for universal access to two years of early childhood development prior to entering Grade 1. This paper explores the merits of this proposal, given the specific South African context. More specifically, this analysis intents to bring new information to bear on three matters. The first relates to the demand-side and aims to identify participation trends among four and five year olds. The second objective is to consider the supply-side and aims to understand the policy space in which pre-Grade R will function, the quality and quantity of infrastructure already in place, and the expertise of ECD practitioners. The final question considers the implementation of a universally accessible pre-Grade R within a constrained system and the requirements to ensure that it will have a significant impact on those children most in need.


National Development Plan, Childhood Development, Quality Preschool, pre-Grade R, Early Childhood Care and Education, Policy


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