Vuyokazi Katise (second from right) receives her national ECD award, with the Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini (far right) looking on.
VUYOKAZI KATISE, an ECD teacher at the Trust, has won recognition as the best Early Childhood Development practitioner in the Northern Cape, and the third best in the country.
The Northern Cape award was bestowed on her at a ceremony in Kimberley on 23 February, and the national award at a gala evening held in Johannesburg on 26 March. Another ECD teacher at the Trust, Thembakazi Matyeka, came second in the Northern Cape competition.
Now in their 11th year, the South African Early Childhood Development (SA ECD) Awards recognise individuals and organisations who have demonstrated excellence and commitment in the course of ECD services and practices across the country.
The 2015 awards were bestowed by the National Development Agency (NDA), in partnership with the South African Congress for ECD; SABC Education; the national departments of Social Development, Basic Education and Health; and UNICEF. Candidates were subjected to stringent procedures, including questioning by a panel of ECD experts.
Addresing the ceremony, the Minister of Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, said there was a growing body of research on the importance of the early childhood years in laying the foundation for future learning. ‘The evidence suggests that quality pre-school education produces short- and longer-term benefits for all children, especially those from disadvantaged and vulnerable backgrounds, and that the skills and abilities acquired in early childhood are fundamental to a person’s success and well-being in later life.’
As a result, the government was working towards universal access to early childhood development in South Africa. ‘We want to ensure universal provision of this essential service for the first four years of every South African child’s life.’
Dr Vuyelwa Nhlapo, chief executive officer of the NDA, said the awards played a vital role in accelerating the implementation of a comprehensive ECD programme, covering the period from the conception of the child to formal schoolgoing age. ‘They also highlight the important need for civil society to recognise the importance of this sector.’
Vuyokazi grew up on a farm in the Colesberg district. After completing Grade 9 at the HCET’s Umthombo Wolwazi Combined Farm School, she completed a course in human resources management at an FET College. She then trained as an ECD practitioner at the Custoda Trust at Delportshoop.
The HCET takes great pride in our ECD teachers’ achievements, and add its congratulations to those who have rewarded their unstinting efforts with these very significant awards.
Thembakazi Matyeka receives her Northern Cape ECD award.