October 2023.

In a heart-warming ceremony held on earlier this month, the journey to excellence in Early Childhood Development (ECD) reached a significant milestone.

A large group of ECD practitioners joyfully donned their graduation robes, with 66 students achieving their Further Education and Training Certificate in Early Childhood Development at NQF level 4, and 39 receiving their Higher Certificate in Early Childhood Development at NQF Level 5.

Over a span of two years, this intensive programme embraced a holistic approach, combining theoretical and hands-on learning. Students dedicated one week to theoretical knowledge and three weeks to practical training each month.

Nongase Anna Mashiro (31), is one of 14 ECD practitioners who received a bursary funded by Boshof Solar Power to pursue her studies. Although she already has extensive experience, having dedicated seven years to ECD at Thari Ya Mme, in Boshof, she has found the training to be incredibly valuable. She noted, “The training has equipped me to lay a strong foundation for children by learning how to facilitate, observe, and support their development.”

Mashiro also passionately spoke of her love for teaching, saying, “What motivates me most about teaching is the potential that each child is born with. I aspire to have a positive and inspiring impact on children’s lives, and I achieve this by being kind, passionate, and injecting a touch of humour.”

The opportunity to participate in this training program has been transformative for her. She expressed, “This opportunity has exposed me to the right path and career. It has given me the tools to perform my work with love and has broadened my horizons in my future as a professional teacher.”

Together with bursary funding from De Aar Solar Power, and Droogfontein Solar Power, the Northern Cape Department of Education was able been increase the number of ECD Practitioners that can access bursaries and add to the general upliftment of education in this region.
As the programme’s service providers, Custoda, a fully accredited training institution, supplied its own training materials and programmes, all approved by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).

Custoda is also working closely with Sol Plaatje University to establish a promising career path for these talented graduates. The qualifications obtained by the graduates are endorsed by the Education, Training, and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA), with certification being accredited through the SAQA Policy on education.

This graduation celebration marks not only a personal triumph for the graduates but also an important step forward in the world of ECD education and community development, driven by the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders.

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