“SmartStart” aims to provide early learning to one million three- and four-year-old children by using a social franchise model to create 51,000 early childhood educators by 2026. The central office finds and trains the so-called “SmartStarters” – of which there are currently around 2,300 – then supports them in setting up an enterprise in their local area with government funding. The project gives meaningful work to many South Africans who had previously been unemployed or working in low-income, unskilled jobs, while providing early education to thousands of young children.
SmartStart has created a structured educational program with standardised materials, training, support and monitoring for SmartStarters who set up local franchises. The central organisation holds recruitment days for applicants to be admitted onto a five-day training course. Once they have recruited children and set up a venue, the SmartStarters are given a license, early learning toolkit and membership to a local supportive network …
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