|dc.description.abstract||The importance of quality pre-primary education is universally
acknowledged in terms of the educational, social and economic
benefits that accrue to the individual and society as a result
of this type of educational provision.
In South Africa, however, co-ordination, planning and funding of
pre-primary education has never taken place at a national level.
In terms of a policy statement made by the Minister of National
Education in 1969, the four provincial authorities were given
responsibility for the establishment and maintenance of pre-primary
education, to be developed as and when the finances of
the provinces permitted.
The provinces opted for different types of provision and so
expansion in this phase differed from place to place and almost
exclusively benefited white children. In Natal, a highly
successful system of provincially-controlled pre-primary schools
was established, staffed by teachers employed by the Natal
Education Department, whose salaries were funded by the Natal
The money for the Natal pre-primary system did not come from the
budget of the NED alone, but was supplemented by amounts
transferred from other departments within the Natal Provincial
Administration, authorised by the Provincial Council's 'right of
The introduction of the Tricameral System, in 1986, led to the
closure of the provincial governments and traditional sources of
funding for pre-primary education were thus removed.
Following the Government's declared commitment to move towards
'parity of provision' of education across all racially-based
education departments, a new national financing formula for
education was introduced in 1987. This consisted of a 'general
affairs' component (applicable to all race groups) and an unknown
'global factor' which was still linked to 'own affairs '
provision. It was understood that the global factors would be
equalised across race groups over a period of time. The main
'general affairs formula' was based on the number of pupils in
compulsory education and did not include pre-primary pupils.
This meant that pre-primary education did not receive funding or
an allocation of teaching posts from this formula.
The Government did not wish pre-primary education to become a
'general affair', because of the cost implications of extending
provision to all race groups. As an interim measure, funding for
existing white pre-primary education was included in the global
factor relating to education under the Department of Education
and Culture: House of Assembly.
Bearing these factors in mind, this study attempts to:
• outline the historical development of pre-primary education
in South Africa.
• describe the development of provincially-based pre-primary
education, with particular reference to the Natal
provincially-controlled system of pre-primary schools.
• document the 'less than transparent' planning and ad-hoc
decision-making that took place at a national level, as the
government sought to divest itself of responsibility for
provincially developed pre-school provision.
• consider the implications of such decision making for the
Rapid political and social changes have taken place in South
Africa in the 1990's, culminating in the election of the
Government of National Unity in April 1994. During the past two
years several policy documents on education have been published,
which include options or proposals relating to pre-primary
education. In the final chapter of this dissertation, some of the
main policy documents are reviewed and areas of consensus are
highlighted, particularly the need to:
• transform current junior. primary (first phase) education by
introducing a more activity-based, mediated learning
• establish state funded reception classes (Grade 0) for all
children in the 5 - 6 year old range.
• co-ordinate and upgrade pre-school services for the under
The importance of funding, to develop and implement this policy
vision, is stressed and the question of financial feasibility is
Finally, attention is directed at the pivotal role that existing
pre-primary teachers have to play in the development and delivery
of teacher training courses (both in-service and pre-service) to
equip people to teach in the first phase (Grade 0 - Grade 3).||en