Real reform for Early Childhood Development (ECD) in South Africa

The Children’s Amendment Bill is being considered by Parliament right now, but it is a missed opportunity.

Right now children across the country’s futures are being impacted by onerous regulation and limited support. The Bill doesn't address the core reforms needed to strengthen the ECD sector — and it may even create more burdens for ECD providers. To see all children in South Africa thriving and accessing inclusive, holistic and quality ECD services, we need real reform. We need your help to realize this.

Our first victory, but the campaign continues

On Saturday 6 March 2021, the Portfolio Committee on Social Development issued a statement announcing their decision to reject the proposed amendments that relate to ECD in the Children’s Amendment Bill that is currently before Parliament. The Real Reform for ECD Campaign marks this as a small victory. Read the full statement

We now have another chance to make the Bill better. We have to make it count.

Make your voice heard →


submissions made


provinces represented


organisations signed on


key reforms advocated

Colourful wooden blocks painted as houses

We support five key reforms:

  1. 1
    We need a one-step registration process for ECD providers and different types of ECD providers must be regulated differently.
  2. 2
    All children attending any type of ECD programme should be able to access the early learning subsidy if they need it.
  3. 3
    Simpler, adequate health, safety and programme standards must be in place and must be accessed through one process.
  4. 4
    It must be made clear that you can get conditional registration if you can’t meet all the registration requirements and MECs must support providers to meet requirements and report on their systems of support.
  5. 5
    The infrastructure needs of the sector must be supported.
Infographic: Challenges with the bill
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Do you agree?

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ECD practitioner and child

Photo credit: Ilifa Labantwana

Why are we worried about the current Bill?

The Children’s Amendment Bill (B18-2020) proposes amendments in relation to a wide range of issues impacting on children, including amendments regarding partial care and ECD. The Bill does not address the Five Reforms needed for strengthening the ECD sector. It has the potential to create additional burdens and challenges for ECD providers. Challenges with the Bill include:

  1. ×
    The registration process remains onerous.
  2. ×
    Different types of ECD provisioning are not recognised - "One-size-fits-all" approach is entrenched.
  3. ×
    Inaccessible health and safety standards have not been reviewed and streamlined.
  4. ×
    Conditional registration provisions are entirely unclear.
  5. ×
    Provisions aimed at unlocking support to ECD providers are weakened.
  6. ×
    Explicit ban on infrastructure funding support to partial care facilities run from private homes.
Infographic: Challenges with the bill
Click infographic to view full size

Key reading

The most relevant law, regulations and policy documents can be accessed here:

  1. the Children's Amendment Bill;
  2. the Children's Act;
  3. the General Regulations Regarding Children;
  4. the National Environmental Health Norms and Standards;
  5. the National Integrated ECD Policy.
Make your voice heard →
A guide to the legal phrases
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How can you make your voice heard?

A guide to the legal phrases
A guide to the legal phrases

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A guide to the legal phrases

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A guide to the legal phrases

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Spread the word with other posters

Download and share these infographics and other resources to spread the word.

  1. Infographic about the challenges

    The challenges
    Afrikaans · English · Zulu

  2. Factsheet on the Bill

    How the Bill fails the ECD sector

  3. Infographic: The Five Reforms

    Our Five Reforms

  4. Infographic on legal phrases

    Phrase guide

  5. Real Reform for ECD campaign logo

    Campaign logo
    Download · Other versions

Who's involved?

Ilifa Labantwana
The Equality Collective
Equal Education Law Centre
The UCT Children's Institute
The National ECD Alliance
The DG Murray Trust

...and many other organisations working hard to make quality ECD a reality in South Africa! Is your organisation working in ECD and do you agree with the necessity of the Five Reforms? Please sign up! Every new organisation strengthens our voice in the parliamentary process.

View all signatories → Join us now →

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Contact the campaign