Local centre wins award

2017-04-12 06:00
The Ebenezer Training Centre was named the best training centre for 2016 at the national Early Childhood Development awards ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel in Johannesburg. From the left are Thamo Mzobe (CEO of the National Development Agency), Bathabile Dlamini (Minister of Social Development), Ethel Koeberg (Ebenezer Training Centre), Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu (Deputy Minister of Social Development) and Mashila Matlala (NDA board member).Photo: Supplied

The Ebenezer Training Centre was named the best training centre for 2016 at the national Early Childhood Development awards ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel in Johannesburg. From the left are Thamo Mzobe (CEO of the National Development Agency), Bathabile Dlamini (Minister of Social Development), Ethel Koeberg (Ebenezer Training Centre), Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu (Deputy Minister of Social Development) and Mashila Matlala (NDA board member).Photo: Supplied

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Ethel Koeberg is motivated to continue offering quality Early Childhood Development (ECD) programmes to local practitioners in the Northern Cape in an effort to lay a good foundation for the children.

This was her passion and mission when she started the Ebenezer Training Centre in Kimberley in 1990 after she moved here from Cape Town.

Her training centre was named as the best training centre during the National ECD Awards ceremony at the Hilton Hotel on Thursday (06/04).

Hosted by the National Development Agency (NDA), the event was graced by the presence of the Minister of Social Development (DSD), Bathabile Dlamini, her Deputy, Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, and Dali Thambo and his wife, Rachel.

The MEC of the DSD of the Northern Cape, Gift van Staden, and directors of the national and provincial DSD and the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), also attended the event.

According to Koeberg, she had merely identified a need in 1984 when she started working with children back in Cape Town.

“I realised that quality education is needed amongst practitioners in both provinces in terms of how the children develop and play.

“I started doing my research on how to start a training centre and how to register it,” Koeberg said.

She said the real work started in 2004 when she got her first level one verification and had to juggle day and night classes.

“That level was later scrapped and level four was introduced. Later I started giving level five classes.

“The demand kept increasing to such an extent that I saw the need to empower myself by studying for my ECD diploma. I became a qualified assessor and regulator through the Education, Training and Development Practices, Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP Seta).”

She said the need for her services stretched to such an extent that she had to extend her services to nearby rural areas and even to the North-West province.

“Practitioners go through a one-week theory training and a three-week workplace training course.”

Koeberg thanked private funding from Lotto and Absa Bank who made the training possible by funding them for transport and catering.

However, there is still more that needs to be done within the ECD industry.

“We still need to emphasise, through education, the importance of children protecting themselves.

“Our children are vulnerable. They go missing, get raped and all kinds of dangerous things happen to them. Education on things like these is still lacking within our centres.”

She said that relationships between children and their parents have become a huge concern, because most parents have very little time for their children.

“I love what minister Dlamini said: that we should teach children their different cultures as well.”

She further highlighted the importance of involving the youth in ECD centres in order to promote talent and to develop skills.

“We need to equip our staff and transfer the knowledge to them so that they can get opportunities. That is how it should be done,” she said.

According to Koeberg, this was her first and last time entering the competition as she is looking to retire soon.

“To me, it was not all about the money, but about the good work that I do within my community.

“The Lord has given me plenty and I should be satisfied.

“This is the first award that I have won since my involvement with the ECD sector, and I am grateful for the opportunity.

“I was treated like a queen while in Johannesburg. I have never slept in such classy hotels in my life. I felt like royalty for the first time in my life. I want to give the others a chance and empower them to get the same treatment.”

Koeberg thanked the Minister of Social Development, the DSD, the NDA and all the teams who made her feel special throughout the programme.

“The Lord must bless them to continue the good work that they do.

“They should keep on doing research and identifying the gaps within the ECD industry.”

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