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Wednesday, 05 February 2020

Universities to offer ECD teaching qualifications in 2021

South African universities will offer diplomas and degrees in Early Childhood Development ((ECD) from next year.

The announcement was made by Hasina Ebrahim, Professor of Early Childhood Care and Education at the University of South Africa during the of Education Faculty’s Early Childhood Development Symposium. The symposium was held recently on the Mowbray Campus under the theme Towards a Transformative Pedagogy for Early Childhood Education (ECE).

Delivering her keynote speech, Ebrahim said recent developments in this field of education revealed knowledge and practice standards with implications for pedagogy. She added that pedagogy was an act and discourse of teaching, the application of professional judgments or any conscious activity by one person designed to enhance learning in another.

The UNESCO Co-chair in Early Education, Care and Development said that transforming pedagogy involves shifting pedagogy from technical to democratic and ethical pedagogical practice which pays attention to complex situations.

Another keynote speaker, Prof Jonathan Jansen, said the structure of inequality in pre-school education can be seen when one discovers that it is children from affluent families who often get admitted to early childhood centres. Jansen argued that black classism emanates from middle class parents not wanting many black teachers at former white schools.

The Distinguished Professor of Education at Stellenbosch University discussed a couple of myths about participation such as the view that changing the formal arrangements of the classroom structure enables active participation, warning the audience members not to confuse the form of the classroom with the practice of interactive learning.

Dr Naseema Shaik, Foundation Phase senior lecturer, said CPUT recently took part in a national collaborative research project on developing a transformative pedagogy for children aged between 0 and four years.

The Co-ordinator of the Grade R Diploma said the findings of the first study revealed that listening is multi-dimensional as it is relational, responsive, an activator of agency and provides a sense of belonging. She added that the second study found that responsive agreement needed to be prioritised between parents and Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) centres so that there is connectedness.

The project’s findings were presented at a recent national conference of the South African Research Association for ECE. “A scholarly book will be released in 2021 and will have implications for ECCE professionalisation,” concluded Shaik.

Another keynote speaker, Yusef Waghid, a Distinguished Professor of Philosophy of Education, said education was an encounter between human beings and others, including non-human beings. Waghid added that caring is one way in which education manifests.

The National Research Foundation-rated internationally acclaimed researcher, who is recognised by some as a leader in the field, argued in defence of ECE but said the potential of its success would more if one collapsed education with rhythmic caring as it allowed for more opportunities to find or imagine a different use for learning aids.

Written by Kwanele Butana

Email: butanak@cput.ac.za