Minister opens new child centre

2012-10-03 12:39

Early childhood development centres in the Free State were given a major boost as Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini opened a new centre in QwaQwa.

Ipeleng Morake, spokesperson for the department of social development in the province, said the opening of the centre forms part of the national launch for social development month.

She said that during this month they will have several awareness programmes about their services aimed at tackling socioeconomic challenges such as poverty, child protection and substance abuse.

A survey, published by the SA Institute of Race Relations, shows that the attendance of childhood development centres, by children up to the age of four, is low in the province.

According to the survey, the attendance in 2010 was 91 000, while 182 000 were not attending daycare, crèches, nurseries and pre-primary schools at all.

The Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, followed by the Free State, registered the lowest attendance in the country. Gauteng and Western Cape boast the highest proportion of attendance.

Jonathan Snyman, a researcher at the institute, said access to these centres is critically important to aiding a child’s social and mental development.

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