Two new accredited teacher training courses
A big part of what makes the immediate future particularly exciting for ASHA Trust is the launch of the new national Early Childhood Development (ECD) Level 3 practitioner qualification. ASHA has campaigned for years for a lower entry point for studies towards a formal career in ECD. So news of the registration of this qualification was welcomed. It will open the profession to thousands of women previously excluded from qualifying for ECD studies due to their incomplete high school education.
This is a potentially game changing event in the ECD arena, and ASHA is well positioned to play its part. The new qualification falls directly into ASHA’s core strength areas, as it has focused its interventions at this level for the past 10 years. In addition, the organisation has recently become an accredited training provider with the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO).
Exciting times for ASHA
In 2017, ASHA’s footprint extended to three provinces, working with 21 communities at 174 pre-school sites. In 2018, it began work in the Western Cape, and is poised to start projects in the Limpopo.
This growth is encouraging and ASHA’s registration as a Level 4 training institution bodes well for involvement in other provinces in 2019, and beyond.
The need in the ECD sector in the country is huge given that only one in three children between the ages of 0 – 4 years has access to any sort of ECD programme.
Age distribution of ASHA beneficiaries
How will this new development impact upon ASHA’s traditional participants in its training and support? In examining the data on trainees in ASHA’s programmes in 2017 the answer becomes evident.
Overall, there is an equal split of women older and younger than 40 years of age. However, the age profile of site heads (usually the principals of the pre-schools) shows that more than 60% are over 40 years of age. These are competent childminders and businesswomen who have been excluded from attaining formal qualifications in ECD due to their existing educational levels.
Their successful centres may have been put under threat given the government deadline of 2020 for all practitioners working with children to be qualified. This new programme opens the way. Level 3 means that these childminders will now be able to register to become qualified professionals.
In addition, if the practitioners (young women working at the pre-schools) are considered then 75% are under 39 years of age. These young women will now be able to enter the ECD sector with qualifications based on competencies rather than their formal school education levels. They will also be able to transition to higher qualifications in the field.
The net effect of the new ECD Level 3 qualification cannot be underestimated as it unlocks the doors for thousands of older women with experience and unrealised potential and younger women with talent and motivation to work with and develop young children.
In addition, the ASHA model adds an extra dimension to this empowerment of women. It contains modules that facilitate the formalisation and registration of emergent pre-schools, and provide the skills to manage and run these pre-schools as viable, sustainable small businesses. In so doing ASHA’s programmes create opportunities for job creation for site heads, practitioners and ancillary workers at the pre-schools. This is in line with recent government initiatives to provide job creation and employment opportunities as an absolute imperative for the country and its future.
Qualifications of participants
A survey on the educational qualifications of ASHA’s 2017 participants is also noteworthy. Before the introduction of the new Level 3 qualification only 27 % of ASHA’s course participants would have been able to register for Level 4 training.
With the new entry level certificate, the additional 83% of the organisation course participants will be able to register for Level 3 qualifications. As a result, ASHA’s trainees, who are drawn from very poor, under-resourced communities, can all attain formal qualifications to follow careers in ECD.
Looking at ASHA’s rapidly expanding geographic footprint and consequently its reach; the massive change in the ECD sector brought about by the new Level 3 qualification; and ASHA’s position within the ECD sector as an accredited service delivery agency for Level 3 training and support.
There is huge optimism in the organisation that its 2017 results will be far surpassed. It is anticipated that in 2018 at least 220 sites, involving 300 trainees impacting upon well over 8 000 children will benefit directly or indirectly because of ASHA’s programmes.
However, the main constraint to the growth of the organisations and its ability to add value, and address the desperate needs in ECD, will be access to funding. ASHA can only succeed and make a meaningful contribution with the support and assistance of its donors. We need your continued support.
Want to donate?
If you would like to know more, please contact our Director, Deirdre Caulwell, who is always happy to discuss how you can get more involved. Contact her on 011 463 0551 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, please visit the ASHA website www.ashatrust.com for additional information on contributing.
The ASHA Annual Report
Just a reminder that ASHA is proudly displaying and sharing its 2017 Annual Report on the web site www.ashatrust.com
The report goes into the activities of the organisation and issues of interest in the ECD sector in more detail. It makes for a quick but informative read, and we invite you to take a look.