Project for Inclusive Early Childhood Care and Education - PIECCE

Saide is delighted to announce its extensive involvement in a four year project led by UNISA, which will increase access for ECD practitioners to quality programme for birth to four educators. An innovative aspect of the programme is the development of a community involving a number of universities, two NGOs and two TVET colleges. Sheila Drew describes the project.

Overall objective
The overall objective of PIECCE is to contribute towards the professionalization of the ECD sector by increasing access for ECD practitioners to quality birth to four programmes in higher education.

Specific objective
In order to do this the consortium and partners will develop Standardised Programme Frameworks for an Early Childhood Continuing Education (ECCE) Diploma and an ECCE B Ed at Level 6 & 7, including:

  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL),
  • Academic Development Support (ADS), and
  • Work Integrated Learning (WIL).
Golden threads that make a difference
We have tried to build into the project some ‘golden threads’ which we hope will make a difference to our thinking and our practice in the sector:

The first of these is collaboration between role players in the ECD sector, through which we will:

  • draw on wide range of expertise in different contexts;
  • design and develop a blend of practical, theoretical, contextually appropriate and accessible programmes and support materials that have reach into the communities they are intended to serve;
  • find the best way to align and articulate the programmes within the qualifications system, allowing students to define a productive and professional qualifications pathway;
  • help to create a platform for diverse voices and make space for critical engagement;
  • use participatory action research methodology which draws on the strengths of action research, but extends it to group participation in the research, and in the design, development, review and refinement of quality programmes and materials;
  • develop a Collaboration Process Framework for programme and materials design, development and review.

Our intention is to embed inclusive practice in the project and in the respective programmes through:

  • ECCE pedagogy.
  • Student support.
  • Accessible, interactive learning and teaching support materials within an action/reflection model.
  • Teacher educator support.
  • Sector collaboration.
  • Recommendations for alignment between occupational and professional qualifications taking account of Foundational Learning (FLC), Academic Support, Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), and Work Integrated Learning (WIL).
  • A mode of delivery that is blended, flexible, adaptable.
  • Open Educational Resources: In the spirit of the 2012 Paris OER Declaration that was formally adopted at the 2012 World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress held at the UNESCO Headquarters, we intend to publish all the work from this project as OER.

The consortium led by UNISA, and made up of Saide, Centre for Social Development at Rhodes University and BRIDGE were recently awarded financial support to do important and innovative work in the field of Early Childhood Development (ECD) in Higher Education. Part of the innovation in this project is the inclusion of two NGOs and two technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges as partners in the project. They are TREE, Ntataise, False Bay College and East Cape Midlands College. At the request of the Department of Higher Education (DHET), and with additional support from them, the consortium was also extended to include a number of Higher Education Institutions, namely, Walter Sizulu University, University of Pretoria, University of Fort Hare, North West University, Cape Peninsua University of Technology, University of the Free State, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Kwazulu Natal.