The ECD Heroes Challenge.

The ECD Heroes Challenge provides an engaging platform for ECD centre teachers to up their skills set, while competing for a range of exciting prizes and public recognition.

The need

A key determinant of quality ECD is the level of competence of the ECD practitioner. Many ECD practitioners in South Africa are under-skilled. They lack access to quality training and on the job learning experiences. The traditional training methods used are often difficult to engage with and generally require many hours of instructor led teaching.

This all results in poorly trained professionals and a lack of personal growth prospects for ECD practitioners. These factors lead to a prevailing culture, which does not sufficiently value and appreciate the critical work these ECD practitioners perform.

There is an urgent need to boost quality training opportunities for ECD practitioners. There is also a need to highlight early years teaching as a meaningful profession, to attract new talent to the space.

The innovation

The ECD Heroes Challenge adapts an existing web platform called Blue Helix, created by the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation (AGOF). Blue Helix currently focuses on developing entrepreneurial mindsets in high school students using a gamified challenge and reward system. Through the adaptation, we aim to encourage innovative educare teacher development using a series of tasks and incentivised challenges.

By building a sizeable PR campaign and awards ceremony around an 8-week challenge series, we also aim to highlight early years teaching as a desirable profession and to celebrate the work of exceptional teachers already employed in this space.

A better method of training teachers will result in better ECD outcomes for children. Using the media to publicly celebrate the expertise of educare teachers employing innovative teaching methods, will result in awareness of the importance of ECD. It will also elevate the important role of the educare teacher in society.

More information can be found on:

ECD Heroes Registration:

ECD Heroes Facebook:

Key insights

As far as we know, this is the first gamified solution of its kind in the ECD space.

Many personalised learning applications provide feedback via multiple choice questions or numerical answers inputs. Moderated peer review of text and picture submissions is, as far as we know, yet to be done well, particularly in the sort of gamified environment set up on the challenge platform, with participants leveling up and placing on a leaderboard.

Service-based industries (tourism in particular) often use awards ceremonies and associated PR campaigns with relevant media partners in a bid to encourage and reward skills development and service delivery excellence. These awards prove very successful in driving behaviour change and public awareness.

Nothing of this kind happens as yet in the education space.

The project team

Allan Gray Orbis Foundation firmly believes in an entrepreneurial, equitable South Africa flourishing with meaningful employment. They invest in individuals who will become high impact entrepreneurs.