There is something truly depressing about state-owned power utility Eskom spending almost as much on fuel-powered electricity generation in the past two months as the government’s entire annual budget for early childhood education. Eskom forked out close to R8bn on diesel in April and May, while a paltry R9.67bn has been set aside for preschool services.

No government has enough money for everything, and in a tight fiscal environment, there will always be hard trade-offs. But investing so little in early childhood education (ECD) is short-sighted, to say the least...

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