About Siphakeme

You’ve probably got questions? Well keep scrolling for the answers!

What does



Siphakeme is an isiZulu word meaning “We are lifted”. 

Established in 2012 out of the Metropolitan Methodist Church in central Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. Siphakeme is managed and financed independently of the Church as a registered Non-Profit Organisation (NPO 120-752) and Public Benefit Organisation (PBO 930044534). Registered with Early Childhood Development (ECD) Alliance.


Why was it started?

“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

The first essential step in a lifetime of education starts in early childhood under 6 years of age. Initially in the home and more formally from age 3 to 6 in early childhood development (ECD) centres and pre-schools. The high failure rates at high school and tertiary levels seen in South Africa can in part be attributed to a lack of pre-school education.

In 2000 an audit of ECD centres in South Africa highlighted the inadequacy of pre-school education – less than half the children aged 5-6 years were attending pre-school and only 10% of educators were considered adequately qualified. The inequity of distribution of ECD provisioning between different racial and socio-economic groups are highlighted. (1)

Building programmes for ECD centres and policies for early childhood education are in place, including the minimum level of training required for ECD practitioners. While progress has been made – an audit in 2014 showed that only 43% of principals and 30% of practitioners have ECD teaching certificates of any level. (2)

Children from less developed and poor areas don’t have equal opportunities to attend pre-school where they learn foundational skills crucial for formal education starting from Grade 1.

(1) 2001, Williams T, Samuels M: The Nationwide Audit of ECE Provisioning in South Africa: National Department of Education, Pretoria

(2) 2014, Audit of Early Childhood Development Centres National Report, Department of Social Development, Pretoria.


How do we do it?

Our vision is “Quality pre-school education for all”.

The vision of Siphakeme is “Quality pre-school education for all”. To achieve this, it needs a multifaceted approach including adequately trained teachers and practitioners for ECD.

The primary aim of Siphakeme is to enhance the quality of pre-school education through empowering and training pre-school educators from under-resourced backgrounds in the greater Pietermaritzburg area.

 Siphakeme offers a creative, relevant, comprehensive and measurable training programme for pre-school educators, in association with other NPOs in the ECD sector. Currently, we have one Educare accredited course.

From 2012 to 2015 the Educare course offered practical training to teachers already caring for pre-school children – but who did not have formal pre-school teacher training and were unable to access such training because of their age, lack of school leaving certificates and/or financial support.

In 2015 Siphakeme signed a social franchise agreement with The Love Trust as an ECD Teacher Training Centre. Through this agreement, Siphakeme extended its training and now offers an academic and accredited Level 4 course from the Teachers Learning Centre in Johannesburg for those seeking a career within the ECD sector.

We offer 2 courses:

– The Educare course

Next course starts: 17 January 2023

This includes:

  • Practical training covering teaching children under 6 years over one year
  • Students attend classes 2x a month for 4 hour sessions.
  • On completion of the 1-year course students:
    • Have an understanding of holistic child development.
    • Know how to set up an environment suitable for learning.

This course is not registered by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA)

How much does it cost? 

The total fee per student is R1500 for a year

  •  R500 paid on registration and the remaining R1000 paid at a minimum of R100 per month. This fee includes 5 manuals, pencils, crayons and other necessary stationary.

For more information please contact: Naidene 072 536 8239.

– the LEVEL 4 course

Next course starts: 17 January 2023

This includes:

  • This Level 4 course is a part-time course run over two years.
  • It is facilitated by experienced and qualified ECD educators.
  • The course is assignment based and all assignments are assessed by the Teacher Learning Centre in Gauteng.

This course is an NQF accredited course that is registered with SAQA (ID 58761) and owned by the Teacher Learning centre in Gauteng.

How much does it cost? 

The total fee per student is R18 7500

  •  R5000 registration fee with application
  • R2000 in the first month and the balance paid over 18 months.

For more information please contact: Jenny  082 937 9309 or Di  082 060 0359

Current Students in Training

The racial composition of classes: 98% are black South African females; the remaining 2% is comprised of white South Africans and foreign students. 

The age range of the students is from the young late teens and early 20’s to grannies over 60 years old.

The return on investment for training competent and committed teachers is greater than indicated in these figures. Each teacher in training is responsible for an average of 20 pupils per year in their place of work. Thus 100 trained teachers each impacting on the education of 20 pupils means that 2000 children benefit each year.

Total Educare Students

Total Level 4 Students


Children Benefitted

Total students completed the courses

Since Siphakeme opened in 2012 almost 500 students have attended the Educare course. This is a 1-year part-time introductory course to Early Childhood Development and Education. It provides the budding pre-school teachers with a practical introduction to ECD and a firm foundation for further education within the sector. Over 90% of these students come from the lower socio-economic communities in and around Pietermaritzburg. 

With the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown in March 2020, there has been a marked drop in the number of students attending the course. We look forward to seeing this improve in 2022 and beyond.

Get involved!

Please help us educate our nation.

Siphakeme kindly asks for your donation to train teachers in providing Quality Pre-school Education for our nation.