Reconciling employment creation and childcare services through early childhood development : a comparison of selected models of provision.
South Africa faces crises in both childcare and unemployment. These two areas are central to development and economic growth. South Africa may be the first country in the world to design and implement a public works programme (PWP) in early childhood development (ECD). This study compares selected models of ECD provision - centrebased ECD, integrated-ECD-interventions and programmes that equip caregivers for ECD, in terms of their ability to accomplish three goals: improve childcare, provide employment and help caregivers reconcile paid and unpaid work. The models vary in the programmes they offer, costs and reach as well as their training requirements, institutional arrangements, use of volunteers, sustainability and ability to complement developmental services, and all have a context in which they work best. Quantitative and qualitative data is used to make projections on the potential socio-economic effects of expanding services according to the various models, and in the context of government plans. ECD will not be able to expand successfully until specific challenges have been overcome. With that as a foundation, the proposed expanded public works programme (EPWP) in ECD could be used as a vehicle to train and develop a cadre of practitioners. Serious consideration needs to be given to the quality of job opportunities created as this will directly affect the programme's impact on ECD. In addition, the model chosen for expansion will determine the ability of the programme to support caregivers in reconciling their paid and unpaid work.