The Expanded Public Works programme: Opportunities and challenges for the ECD sector

15 Feb 2011

The author reflects on the findings of a study commissioned by the Human Science Research Council (HSRC). A qualitative research methodology was used to explore the perceptions of service providers in the early childhood development (ECD) sector on job creation through government’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The EPWP is aimed at drawing significant numbers of unemployed people into productive work by increasing their capacity to earn a sustainable income through training. In response, the national departments of Social Development, Health, and Education developed a Social Sector Plan (SSP) for EPWP in which the ECD sector was identified as one of the key areas for expansion. From a developmental social work perspective, both Early Childhood Development and productive employment are important strategies to alleviate persistent poverty. This article is intended to create dialogue, further research and action towards realizing the potential of the ECD sector to create more sustainable jobs in order to improve the quality of people’s lives.