PB02/2010

Recent patterns in the extent and quality of pre-primary education in South Africa

Stellenbosch Policy Brief No. 02/2010

Author(s): Martin Gustafsson

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Abstract:

A recent paper, using new household data, indicates that the percentage of Grade 1 learners who have experienced pre-primary schooling increased substantially between 2004 and 2008, from 60% to 80%. The research also indicates that attending a preschool improves performance in primary school mathematics test for certain poor learners. These findings are of particular importance given the government’s increased focus on this sector. In the 2009 Medium Term Strategic Framework the government has committed itself to expanding Grade R enrolment to all learners and to double the enrolment of children aged 0 to 4 years in preschool facilities by 2014. Most developing country governments pay considerable attention to expanding access to pre-primary education, largely because it is widely believed that more time spent in pre-primary education leads to better learning in primary schooling and beyond.