The Department of Basic Education is today launching the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Census 2021, which aims to collect data on all ECD programmes in the country to better understand and plan for the ECD landscape in South Africa.

The Census 2021 will count all registered and non-registered ECD programmes to build a data management information system for the ECD sector and also marks a significant milestone as the Department of Basic Education prepares for the ECD function shift from the Department of Social Development.

Information gathered as part of the census will be used to integrate ECD into the DBEs’ Education Management Information System (EMIS) and thus expand the provision of education support programmes as well as play-based learning.

Funded by the LEGO Foundation, the data and indicators will also establish a baseline for assessing the quality of learning through play in South Africa.

“The department, together with the LEGO Foundation and all involved partners are excited to undertake the first national census, which will broaden access to quality learning for every South African child,” says Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga. “We urge all registered and unregistered centres in all corners of the country to participate in the census which will commence from Monday, 23 August, as this will enable planning for greater inclusion, especially of children with disabilities and the delivery of integrated health and safety programmes.”

Field work for the national ECD census started on 23 August 2021, in the Free State, Northern Cape and North West, and will roll out to the rest of the country by 14 September 2021.