Breaking News – Social Development Center Celebrates Early Childhood Education Graduates



Social Development Center Celebrates Early Childhood Education Graduates

By Otsile Mabote

The Center for Social Development (CSD), located at Rhodes University, held a graduation ceremony at the 1820 Settlers Monument on October 10 for 93 candidates who received a National Diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECD).

A minute of silence was observed at the start of the ceremony in memory of two CSD staff members who taught this course and passed away in 2020. The late Ms. Ruth Nombewu was the course coordinator and the late Mr. Thuso Moss was the course facilitator. After the welcome address by the Chairman of the Board of CSD and Dean of Education of Rhodes University, Prof. Eureta Rosenberg, Mr. Mpumzi Mgijima from the Sector Education and Training Authority of Education, Training and Development (ETDP SETA) delivered a congratulatory speech.

With this graduation, things were a little different. Early Childhood Development (ECD) professionals, primarily from Makhanda and Uitenhage, have been trained to NQF Level 5 and given the opportunity to further their professional careers by pursuing a Bachelor of Education degree while teaching in the basic phase. This unique career path that the CSD has developed allows ECD practitioners to progress academically through the University’s suite of qualifications. Forty of the graduates are already enrolled in the BEd in Foundation Phase Teaching.

The CSD was started in August 1981 by Mrs. Thelma Henderson, the wife of the former Vice-Chancellor of Rhodes University. Its original purpose was to serve as a branch of the University with an ECD focus in Makhanda. By meeting the needs of disadvantaged communities in the city and surrounding areas, CSD has also served the community development sector. The role of the CSD has expanded over time to include in-service training for community development, ECD practitioners, and BEd foundation phase teachers. As a self-funded entity affiliated with the Faculty of Education, CSD currently conducts crucial research in early childhood education.

The ceremony was well attended by family and friends of the graduates, as well as Rhodes University staff members, including the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sizwe Mabizela, who was the keynote speaker. In his address, the VC highlighted the importance of the ECD credential and the link between early childhood development and future success. He also encouraged graduates to use their degrees appropriately, saying: “One of the most concerning statistics is that 78% of Grade 4 learners cannot read in any language, including their native language. maternal. It’s a crisis. In fact, it’s a disaster. There are many reasons for this, but the main one is the lack of access to early childhood education in this country. So I want to congratulate each of you for taking up this challenge to strengthen our early childhood development education. You have the opportunity to shape these young minds and form these young lives.

CSD Director Dr. Fortunate Gunzo concluded the event with a vote of appreciation.

Joel C. Hicks