The Departments of Basic Education (DBE) and Social Development (DSD) have committed to ensuring that there is no interruption to service delivery during the migration process of Early Childhood Development (ECD) services.

This comes after the President’s announcement during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) that ECD should migrate from DSD to DBE.

“Both departments pledged that during the transition process, there will not be any interruption to service delivery and they will continue to work collaboratively in this regard,” the departments said in a joint statement.

On Tuesday, the departments briefed the joint sitting of the Portfolio Committees on Basic Education and Social Development on the progress relating to the ECD migration from DSD to DBE.

“As departments, we see this as a unique and significant opportunity to improve access to quality early learning and to enhance the ECD delivery system to better serve the children of South Africa.

“It should be noted that at the centre of the migration process is the improvement of the development of children and the quality of ECD education in providing the best support to children from an early age onwards,” the statement said.

The departments have been working towards the realisation of the change in responsibilities for the provision of ECD services.

To this end, the two departments have established relevant governance structures namely; Human Resources; Finance and Budgets; Legislation and Contracts; Immovable and movable assets; Communication and Stakeholder engagement; Monitoring and Evaluation, Data and Information as well as ECD programme implementation.

These workstreams are to ensure a seamless transfer of the functions and will be meeting regularly to provide feedback to the Ministers.

In terms of the migration, provisions from both Chapter 5 (only as it relates to ECD facilities) and Chapter 6 of the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act No. 38 of 2005) have been identified for transfer from the Departments of Social Development to Basic Education.

“Based on the recommendation from the Office of the Chief State Law Advisors (OCSLA) the Proclamations have been prepared and will be processed accordingly.

“The first Proclamation relates to the transfer of the powers and functions to the Minister responsible for Basic Education and the second Proclamation is for the transfer of power and functions to the MECs responsible for Basic Education in each Province,” the statement said.

The proclamations further specify that the date of the implementation of the ECD function migration which will be 01 April 2022.

Members of both Committees welcomed the briefing. They have requested amongst other things, that a workshop session be convened to allow for a more in-depth discussion on matters related to ECD policy and programme issues.

This will also include its concomitant implications for ECD service delivery within the Basic Education environment.

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