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Towards the development of an Integrated Strategy to address impediments on Early Childhood Development Programme (ECD): A Social Work Perspective

The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the impediments of the ECD programme with the intention to develop an integrated strategy. The study was qualitative. The study used applied research. Within the context of applied research, exploratory-descriptive - multiple-case study research design was utilised to accomplish the goal of the study. In this study, the researcher- utilised two sets of the population to participate in the study. The study used non-probability sampling and, specifically, purposive sampling. The criteria to select the participants were used. The participants included in the study were, Early-Childhood development Practitioners and social workers coordinating the ECD programme in Vhembe District Municipality.

The focus group interviews and one-to-one individual interviews (structured one-to-one interview) was used to collect data from the participants. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. The study findings revealed that ECD centres have different types of impediments that affect the smooth-running of the ECD programme. The following are issues that impede the proper implementation of the ECD programme in Vhembe District Municipalities: infrastructure (e.g. no running water, no electricity and no proper building), poor financial support from the government, lack of resources within the centre, lack of community support and poor financial support by local businesses.

The findings reveal that other ECD centres were established without basic training by the government. The study found that ECD centres admit children that exceed the expected number. Secondly, the ECD practitioner-child ratio was not considered. The study revealed that ECD practitioners from all municipalities showed different perceptions and attitudes towards services that are rendered, which is also based on the treatment that they get from social workers and the poor support received from the parents of the children. The study also found that ECD centres are being monitored by three different offices, the district office; NPO, and the local social worker. An ECD integrated strategy was developed to address the impediments that impact the proper implementation of the ECD programme.

Full Name
Dr Baloyi Themba Victor