How The Love Trust is helping ECD teachers gain their qualifications in the Eastern Cape
The Love Trust is making great strides in expanding and enriching their support to those who need it. Through meaningful dialogue with several stakeholders, including the Department of Basic Education, they are now able to bring their Early Childhood Development (ECD) Teacher Training Programme into the Eastern Cape.
Evelyn Fisher Langa and Pastor Keto Malusi, Centre Managers at Gemm Leadership Academy in Aliwal North and Sakhisizwe in eNgcobo respectively, recently shared their thoughts on the dire need for qualified ECD teachers throughout Eastern Cape. They spoke about why they chose to partner with The Love Trust as well as their aspirations for the future; ultimately highlighting what assistance is most crucial towards achieving these ambitions.
Gemm Leadership Academy Teacher Training Centre in Aliwal North
Evelyn Fisher Langa is a committed educator with the passion to give back. Motivated by her roots in Christ Church Midrand and knowledge of The Love Trust’s mission, she started exploring ways to open a school in Aliwal North. Approaching The Love Trust for help, they got straight down to business – conducting interviews amongst interested students around the area before helping get Gemm Leadership Academy Teacher Training Centre (TTC) up-and-running.
As an ambitious project from its inception, Level 4 courses commenced in December whilst Level 5 began this February.
Sakhisizwe in eNgcobo
Pastor Keto and Silas Pillay, Director of Academics at The Love Trust, know each other well and share an understanding of the need for ECD training in Engcobo, a town in the Eastern Cape province.
After meeting with interested parties, they discovered 18-20 people eager to begin their Level 4 training in February/March 2023. They are now researching Buttersworth’s and East London’s needs as well – but this journey requires appropriate funding before it can become reality.
Why ECD centres are so important and why specifically in these areas
According to Pastor Keto, with the current unemployment crisis and ever-growing need for ECD centres, many people – especially women – are turning to running their own facilities. Unfortunately, this is often done without possessing the essential skills or knowledge required to run a successful centre; some don’t even have basic first aid kits on hand when emergencies arise with young learners. They are essentially baby-sitters, paid to watch the children while the parents and guardians are at work.
He believes that quality training is essential for ECD centres wishing to progress in their field, with a further education and training certificate in ECD (NQF Level 4). With this, ECD centre staff can enhance their career opportunities in the ECD sector.
Fisher Langa echoes this sentiment and believes that small towns, like Aliwal North, can benefit from the professional help offered by organizations such as The Love Trust, which takes its values – integrity and love for God and people – very seriously. The centre not only provides job opportunities, but also encourages a holistic development in both children and practitioners alike. People have responded positively to the programme as it offers something special that goes much deeper than just jobs or services alone.
How The Love Trust’s Teacher Training Programme differs from others
Based on her own experience, Fisher Langa has found that ‘Fly By Night’ training centres have become increasingly common in smaller towns: they pop-up and disappear again. Regrettably, many of these training centres are inadequate or insufficient and don’t meet the standards set by the Department of Education. As such, those who receive this type of education often have trouble finding employment in their field because they weren’t properly trained. The Love Trust’s Teacher Training Programme offers teachers security in knowing that they’ll gain the proper training and qualifications.
For Pastor Keto, the programme offers a unique approach to teaching with its Christian-based curriculum and practical application. Not only is this course affordable, but it also provides teachers with an opportunity to see immediate results from their efforts as they continue working while attending classes. Additionally, successful completion of the programme will yield them qualifications that can advance their career path goals.
Future goals and how to make them a reality
Pastor Keto’s long-term goals are delivering knowledge, strengthening ECDs in the Eastern Cape and providing quality learning opportunities for ECD learners as well as a sustainable career direction to many unemployed adults.
“Apart from bringing excellence to the ECD sector in these areas,” says Fisher Langa, “it’s also about going a step further and opening the minds of people that this is not just about employment. It is about changing the way we approach our responsibility towards our young generation growing up. Understanding that you’ll be touching the lives of children and potentially changing their trajectory.”
Hopeful results from these pilot programmes
Pastor Keto says that to ensure their long-term success, “we’re aiming to demonstrate the merits of this programme via the pilot project. The results will not only make investors more eager to get involved but aspiring ECD teachers too!”
According to Fisher Langa, there is an incredible appetite for learning within the student-teachers, driven by a desire to make meaningful differences and improve lives. They’ve already shown their enthusiasm with how deeply immersed they are in our materials. They expect excellent results from these candidates.