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Early childhood education is a vital cog in the wheel; Dr Tshepo Motsepe

The 3rd SmartStart Unite Annual Conference and Award Ceremony was a roaring success as a high caliber of speakers, led by South Africa's First Lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe, shared their views and expertise around early education system.

Held on Saturday, November 23, at Saint George’s Hotel & Conference in Irene, Pretoria, at the heart of this year’s gathering was a special award ceremony aimed at honouring the achievements of ‘Smart Starters’, the women who are working tirelessly to take quality early learning experiences to over 60 000 children across South Africa. 

South Africa’s First Lady, Dr Tshepo Motsepe, delievered a powerful keynote address. Touching on the very pillars of the SmartStart program, she urged South Africans to work together to ensure that children have the right foundations in place to succeed at school and beyond.

She also commended the SmartStart social franchise model for its role in supporting early childhood education and skill development, which she said are the bedrock of building a progressive society.

“Early Childhood Development is a vital cog in the wheel and establishes a proper foundation for children’s later learning and at the same time constitutes an essential basis on which new education and training will be built.”

As the country marks 25 years of democracy, it’s about time that “we measure our progress in giving effect to the Bill of Rights for our citizens,” she said.

Dr Motsepe also recognised the need to broaden access to early childhood education for this country’s children in general,” and black children in particular.”

This is in line with government’s priority to develop critical foundation skills and ensure increased access.

“In the past financial year, an estimated 700 000 children countrywide were attending some form of ECD facility,” Dr Motsepe said.

“Although this is laudable, it only represents a fraction of the number of children we need to reach. In this regard, we are inspired by your aspiration to increase access to 1 million children by 2025.”

SmartStart was established four years ago with the vision of ensuring that every child in South Africa has the foundations in place to succeed at school and beyond.

The driving focus has been on scale and acceleration – pioneering a new social franchise mechanism that ensures that quality and affordable early opportunities can reach the highest number of children at the quickest possible speed.

 – Media Release issued by 7Colors Communications.

For media and PR enquiries, contact Tankiso Komane on 068 532 4932 /

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