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The following speech was delivered by the Executive Mayor this morning at a launch of the City of Cape Town’s Early Childhood Development Resource Library in Philippi. Read more below:

Thank you all for coming out to join us today. It really is an honour for me to be here with all of you.

It is even more fitting that we’re here at this beautiful City of Cape Town library during South African Library Week​.

The library is one of the most important facilities to ensure that our children and even adults have a quiet space where they can get information needed to expand their knowledge base.

Second to the school and Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres, libraries provide a platform for the young ones to be able to have a solid foundation for the future.

And I’m happy to announce the latest in the City of Cape Town’s efforts to further solidify that foundation with the ECD resource libraries.

Twelve of our public libraries, including this one here in Philippi, will be equipped with learning materials including books, educational and recreational toys that will add to the development of the young children.The primary aim is to provide a variety of play and educational materials for children at various levels of development to ensure that the children’s experiences are enjoyable.

We believe that these 12 ECD resource libraries will be able to help stimulate the child’s early development through educational materials and toys to boost the learning experience of these boys and girls.

We know that recent research by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) paints a bleak picture of our children’s reading ability.

According to UNESCO, eight out of 10 Grade 4 pupils ‘still cannot read at an appropriate level.’ That is quite alarming and is an indictment of us as a whole society.

It is important now more than ever for us to value our children’s education and to ensure that they have the tools from an early age to be able to take on a challenging world.

As a caring city, we believe that the establishment of these ECD resource libraries will assist us in ensuring that we cultivate a culture of reading at an early stage.

This is a critical stage of the developmental phase of the child for us to be able to introduce a philosophy where they understand the importance of reading and knowledge going into their futures.

This library and the 11 others will be filled with books that will enable them and their teachers to contribute to that future.

The ECD resource libraries will also provide a valuable resource for parents and professionals who are pursuing the development of children to their optimum potential.

I want to urge all parents to take full advantage of these ECD libraries. Bring the young children to learn, have them interact with others in the same age group and experience a culture of reading.

It will be worth both your and their time. Have fun today and enjoy.

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