Fixing the foundations: Early education as the key to a brighter economic future
In a visionary move to secure a brighter economic future for South Africa, Cotlands is calling on South African corporations to make strategic B-BBEE investments into its groundbreaking CotlandsIgnite™ training programme for Early Childhood Development (ECD). Cotlands, a leading non-profit organisation, offers accredited training to ECD practitioners. Research has shown us that the better start a child has to access play-based learning in their early years, the better their outcomes throughout their educational journey. Therefore, this investment will inevitably result in a well-educated workforce for the future.
There is a significant gap in ECD skills among practitioners in the sector. Many of these practitioners have no accredited qualification and cannot afford to pay for a course due to salary limitations. Investing in sector training will close this critical skills gap and build skilled capacity in the practitioners to provide better quality play-based programmes.
The skills gap challenge
The Department of Basic Education released the 2021 Early Childhood Development (ECD) Census results, which report that the ECD sector employs 198 361 staff members across 42 420 ECD centres. Close to a quarter (22%) of the teaching and managerial staff in the ECD sector do not have a relevant ECD qualification. Cotlands sees itself as playing an essential role in developing ECD teaching staff and empowering them with the knowledge and skills to deliver quality early learning programmes to children in their communities through the innovative CotlandsIgnite™ programme.
Mealang Van Heerden, Cotlands Instructional Designer, adds, “CotlandsIgnite™ is aware of the quality challenges in ECD and understands the importance of upskilling and increasing the knowledge of practitioners in practice so they can better prepare children for formal schooling and give them a good foundation to be successful in their later years at school.”
CotlandsIgnite™: The Beacon of Hope
As an accredited training provider, Cotlands has designed this innovative training platform and programme to address these pressing challenges. This hybrid course provides easy access to learners based anywhere and strives to elevate the quality of early learning services provided through the course content it offers learners. Learners are assigned a mentor, ensuring that students maximise their learning opportunities.
CotlandsIgnite offers three courses: the Occupational Certificate Early Childhood Development Level 4, the New Venture Toy Library Skills course and the New Venture Basic Business Skills course. The emphasis here goes beyond training. CotlandsIgnite™ aims to equip practitioners and toy librarians with the skills to establish and operate early childhood development centres and toy libraries to offer high-quality foundational phase learning opportunities. Furthermore, the curriculum prioritises essential skills, including creativity and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) competencies, aligning South Africa with the changing demands of the global job market.
The urgency of the matter
The urgency of investing in this initiative cannot be overstated. Research shows that children build 50% of their lifetime learning capacity in the first seven years, making early education a critical foundation for future employability. CotlandsIgnite™ is not just a training course; it’s a beacon of hope for a stronger economic future for South Africa. Investing in this initiative is investing in the nation’s future workforce, ensuring no child is left behind. Cotlands calls upon governments, organisations, and individuals to join today’s transformative journey. Your investment in CotlandsIgnite™ will help unlock a brighter future for more children through quality education.
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