Review Article

A snapshot of early childhood care and education in South Africa: Institutional offerings, challenges and recommendations

Giulietta D. Harrison
South African Journal of Childhood Education | Vol 10, No 1 | a797 | DOI: | © 2020 Giulietta D. Harrison | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 July 2019 | Published: 24 August 2020

About the author(s)

Giulietta D. Harrison, Centre for Social Development, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa


Background: This article draws from a research report on the Project for Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Education (PIECCE), which surveyed attitudes, training strategies, materials and entrance requirements across most relevant higher education institutions (HEIs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and technical and vocational education and training colleges (TVETs).

Aim: The aim of this study was to identify what institutions were offering in terms of training teachers in the birth-to-four age group, to identify the challenges and provide recommendations based on the findings.

Methods: Participatory action research was performed to generate data, which took the form of a Google survey, individual interviews and document analysis. These research tools were adjusted according to the requirements of the study, as and when necessary. The combination of the desktop study and the PIECCE report provided a comprehensive picture of South African early childhood care and education (ECCE), with particular emphasis on government funded training institutions and NGOs, as well as current challenges.

Results: Findings and recommendations are presented. The challenges include, amongst others, issues such as uneven geographic spread of ECCE offerings, lack of training skills, difficulties obtaining quality qualifications, dysfunctionality of accreditation bodies, misalignment between National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and HEI entrance requirements and poor remuneration of teachers.

Conclusion: A desktop study on institutional offerings, written as a collaborative effort across a variety of teacher-training institutions, evidenced that there are a number of fundamental issues in the sector. If the challenges can be resolved, the quality of ECCE training and accessibility can improve.


institutional offerings; collaborative research; institutional collaboration; transformative pedagogy; action research; ECCE; ECD


Total abstract views: 3190
Total article views: 5720

Crossref Citations

No related citations found.