The Review finds that close to 3 969 000, or 63%, of young children in South Africa live in poverty. Their development – including physical, cognitive, emotional – is compromised because they are not receiving the services and care they need. Provinces with the highest rates of child poverty are the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal and Limpopo.
“The returns on investment in early learning, for children under 6, are vastly higher than those from later education, even primary schooling,” says Giese. “Science tells us that early stimulation’s impact on language and numerical ability is immense. The results are life-long: they affect people’s job prospects and earning potential, so early learning is important not only for individuals, but for breaking inter-generational cycles of poverty.”