Bringing M&E into the ECD space and update on ECD Qualifications Landscape

BRIDGE has identified monitoring and evaluation as a cross-cutting theme which we will infuse into all community of practice meetings. A presentation by Tshikululu Social Investments on an evaluation done on the FNB non-centre based ECD intervention brought M&E into the ECD community of practice (CoP). The presentation illustrated how M&E can enhance our knowledge and make our own practice more rigorous. The ECD CoP also explored topics of ongoing interest which affect stakeholders; currently, developments in the qualifications landscape are of vital importance. In line with this, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) presented the ‘Policy on Minimum Requirements for Programmes Leading to Qualifications in Higher Education for Early Childhood Development Educators’ (Gazette 31 March 2017).

The Tshikululu presentation highlighted the approach, key findings and recommendations of the evaluation. The explicit strategy of the intervention was to focus on ECD in non-formalised settings and to improve the capacity of the caregiver through delivery of training by programme partners using ‘facilitators’. The training included education on the importance of ECD, strategies for stimulations, and developing low-cost resources. The intervention also included access to psycho-social support for the primary caregivers.  This was an attempt to try to address as many of the components of the essential package for ECD support as possible. One of the lessons learned in fact was the importance of nutrition – and the effect poverty and lack of food can have on ECD provision. The evaluation was guided by a set of questions covering issues such as context, nature of beneficiaries, implementation issues, lessons learned, and impact.

One long-term aim of the programme is to show that non-centre based ECD can make a difference, and this is important because non-centre based ECD is largely the ECD provision available in low income communities. This means that evaluations will need to track the progress of individual children: improvements in the programme going forward will include:

– closer ties with feeder schools to help with tracking;  

– a re-assessment of how to measure impact, such as the use of tools like ELOM (Early Learning Outcomes Measurement);

– recognition that psycho-social support must respond to needs, and can’t be a ‘one-size-fits-all; and

– recognition of the fact that a big challenge for non-centre based ECD is nutrition and lack of health provision, as well as the fact that it is open to gender-based violence.

The full presentation can be accessed on the BRIDGE Knowledge Hub, by clicking here.

The DHET presentation on ‘Policy on Minimum Requirements for Programmes Leading to Qualifications in Higher Education for Early Childhood Development Educators’ marks the first time that a formal set of professional and post-professional qualifications policy for educators working in the Birth to 4 space has been set out. For each qualification, it covers features of the qualification such as purpose, admission requirements, knowledge mix, credit values, RPL and credit accumulation and transfer options, as well as requirements for Work Integrated Learning.  The policy also sets out the ways in which the proposed qualifications connect with existing and historical qualifications for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE).

Click here to access the full presentation.