University of the Free State (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN23 Proceedings
Publication year: 2023
Pages: 142-146
ISBN: 978-84-09-52151-7
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2023.0076
Conference name: 15th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 3-5 July, 2023
Location: Palma, Spain
In the South African context, there are early childhood development centres designated as mobile centres. These centres have been in operation for several years with the intention of bringing early learning to a teaming population of South African children. The Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) programme is set to ensure a solid foundation for the education of children from birth to 9 years. This program is targeted at ensuring that children transit positively from early childhood care or pre-primary level to the primary level of education. The experiences children have in the early years of life are considered very paramount for their well-being and lifelong learning. However, literature is scarce on the educational activities of mobile ECCE centres. Based on this, the researchers explored the challenges encountered by the practitioners in maintaining mobile ECCE centres. The researchers adopted explanatory sequential mixed methods research approach to guide the research. A sample of 10 practitioners in one organisation providing mobile ECCE in the Free State Province participated in this research. Necessary data for this research were collected using a structured questionnaire and semi-structured interview guide. The psychometric qualities of the quantitative instrument and the trustworthiness of the qualitative research instrument were adequately ensured. The analysis of quantitative data was done using appropriate descriptive statistics such as mean, bar charts and percentage, while the qualitative data were analysed using ATLAS.ti software. The results among others showed that one of the most challenges faced by the practitioners in operating a mobile ECCE programme is the language barrier as most children speak Sotho as their home language, while other children speak Tswana and Xhosa as well. Besides, it was found that practitioners deal with many psychosocial challenges, especially alcohol abuse by parents and poverty, which have grave effects on children’s social and educational development. Other challenges found are rain, wind, cold and dust. Thus, these findings have strong policy implications for the fact that there is a need to have an ECCE policy framework that allows in-service training of practitioners in the different home languages of the children. This will help to equip them with the knowledge of the different home languages of the children in the mobile ECCE centres to mitigate the challenge of a language barrier.
Challenges, Maintaining, Mobile Early Childhood Care and Education Centre, Practitioners.