Posted on :
18 Nov, 2020
18 Nov, 2020
SmartStart is a national early learning programme that is looking for a dynamic, creative and self-driven individual with experience in training materials and adult learning to support our programme design team. Experience in the Early Childhood development skills and experience preferable.
Job Title: Early Learning Materials and Instructional Design Manager
Employment Type: Full-time Position
Universal access to a comprehensive package of early childhood development (ECD) services must be achieved quickly if we are to improve outcomes for children at population-level in South Africa. An estimated 1.24 million 3 – 5½ year-old children are either not attending an early learning programme, are attending inappropriate provision or their attendance/circumstances are unknown. Of these, over 920,000 are poor children (in quintiles 1 and 2). This means that poor children constitute 75 per cent of the total provisioning gap.In other words, children who are most in need are most likely to miss out.
In order to close this gap and achieve universal access for all 3 – 5-year-olds, over 100,000 new early learning practitioners and assistants are needed, and over 40,000 new venues. By implication, without a human resource pipeline and sufficient venues for early learning programmes, it will be impossible to improve access for children. What is more, in order to reach the high numbers of excluded children, system capacity must be expanded at an unprecedented rate in a relatively short timeframe.
Even where early learning programmes do exist, quality is highly variable. This is significant, because research suggests that children generally only benefit from attendance at early learning programmes if a certain level of quality is provided. The issue of quality tends to be linked to poverty. Both registered and unregistered early learning programmes in poor communities are more likely to have inadequate play and learning materials and to be provided by practitioners with little or no training.Early learning programmes have the potential to create direct employment and support micro-enterprise development for a new cadre of trained ECD practitioners. There is also an exciting opportunity to support the expansion of early learning programmes using existing premises, including homes – meaning that scale-up is not slowed or made unaffordable by thousands of building projects.
A systems-intervention is needed which can close the provisioning gap in two ways: First, by integrating every stage on the service delivery continuum; and second, by providing the architecture and systems for establishing and managing programmes at scale. This type of national delivery platform offers a new way of thinking about the provision of early learning. It solves for the human resource and venues dilemmas together, by linking the challenges of recruitment and training with the operationalisation and resourcing of new programmes in a variety of existing premises, including homes. Crucially, in areas where ECD NGOs are already active, a national delivery platform acts as an equal partner, harnessing their experience and assets, linking up their contributions and providing the systems for growth.A national early learning delivery platform is not simply a bigger NGO or service. It is a new approach which is designed at the outset for scale and provides the operational architecture and systems that enable it to keep expanding until all children are reached.
SmartStart is South Africa’s first full-service early learning delivery platform. Under a social franchise model, implementing partners (‘Franchisors’) license and support early learning practitioners to deliver the same evidence-based programme for 3-5 year-olds. The programme is supported by operational tools and play materials, a network of ‘Clubs’, and training, licensing and quality assurance processes implemented by a national team of Coaches. Recruitment and community activation systems help to stimulate both the supply and demand sides.
In the five years since set-up, the social franchise model has initiated and set up in excess of 7000 ECD micro-entrepreneurs and enabled SmartStart to reach over 75,000 children. In 2019, an independent evaluation of the progress of 199 children attending 69 SmartStart programmes confirmed that it was achieving positive outcomes for children. Using the standardised Early Learning Outcomes Measure (ELOM) tool, the researchers found that 62% of children were achieving the expected standard for their age at endline, compared to 32% at baseline.SmartStart has shown what is possible, and as government incentives align with provider interests, a number of early learning delivery platforms could emerge.
The successful candidate will have a deep knowledge and experience in early learning and evidence based approaches supported by strong understanding of instructional design and materials development.
The early learning materials and instruction design manager will be responsible for:
Measures of success:
Qualities and skills:
This role is required to travel around South Africa as part of programme review and engagement to the various SmartStart sites, specifically with a focus on training review and quality assurance.
Application Deadline: Friday, 27 November, 2020
Should you not receive feedback within two weeks after the closing date, please consider your application unsuccessful.