South Africa Energy Coal (SAEC) has launched a new Early Childhood Development (ECD) program in Witbank.

Aimed at upskilling teachers and ECD managers, the program is designed to address some of the education problems faced in South Africa where around 70 per cent of children are not in any form of ECD program.

A total of 82 representatives from the Phola, Ogies, Witbank, Rietspruit and Middelburg communities of Nkangala District Municipality are now scheduled to take part in the initiative.

Kgabi Masia, President SAEC, said the program demonstrated SAEC’s commitment to making a lasting a sustainable difference in people’s lives through education and skills development.

He added: “In line with the Government’s National Development Plan and our key principle of becoming a local champion, SAEC is investing in initiatives that will help provide quality education for our host communities. This is our contribution towards ensuring that access to education is available from early childhood, leaving a lasting positive legacy in the lives of our children.

“Participation in programs like this one reinforces our conviction that, as a company, we care deeply about the communities in which we operate and recognise the role of business in the socio-economic development of the next generation.

“The demand for teachers with a qualification in ECD has become important in education as well as in upskilling our communities. The benefits of having qualified ECD teachers means that children are able to develop their mental capacity at an early age and have a better chance of success once they start school.”

As part of its commitment, SAEC will sponsor the participants’ registration, tuition, stationery and training materials for the duration of the six-month program.

Once completed, the participants will also qualify to register with the South African Council of Educators to further their studies to become foundation phase educators in primary schools.