Education ‘change maker’ honoured in Switzerland

  • James
While global citizens gathered in South Africa over the weekend to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s centenary and raise money for deserving causes, a South African citizen was being celebrated in Zurich, Switzerland, for his work in the field of child and youth development.
by OWN CORRESPONDENT | Dec 13, 2018

James Urdang, the Chief Executive and founder of Education Africa, was one of ten recipients of the 2018 Klaus J Jacobs Awards honouring social innovation and change-making in the field of child and youth development. Awardees were selected from all over the world including South Africa, Brazil, Uganda, Slovakia, Nepal, Turkey, Colombia, and Jordan.

Lavinia Jacobs, the President of the Swiss-based Jacobs Foundation said, “They have found affordable, sustainable ways to promote positive development that can be easily implemented. They are beyond talking – they act.”

Urdang received CHF100 000 (R1.4 million), which will be used for the ongoing sustainability and development of Education Africa’s Early Childhood Development (ECD) project. This project, established in 2008, provides training and support to ECD practitioners and current or future caregivers with a view to ensuring school readiness as children progress from preschool to primary school.

The organisation recently changed its focus from skills-based training to a SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) NQF Level 4 certified training programme, improving employment prospects for participants, and raising qualification levels in the field overall.

Says Urdang, “Our comprehensive training programme is of great benefit to ECD centres in disadvantaged areas that are already strained for resources. While many of the trainees entering this programme are already caregivers working in ECD centres, others are unemployed youths seeking a career opportunity. We are thrilled to be able to provide both with opportunities for growth.”

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