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Early Childhood Care and Education: The Foundation of Learning

We all know that most of the Brain Development of children happen during the early years of their life. And, this is the time when these children need care and quality education.

Currently, the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is not available to a large portion of Indian population, specially children coming from socio-economically weaker sections. And where it is available, the quality of the education isn’t good enough.

The National Education Policy (NEP2020) aims at providing a strong Early Childhood Care and Education by 2030, to a level that children entering the 1st grade are capable and ready.

Under the ECCE, the NCERT will develop National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPF-ECCE) for the children up to the age of 8 years. This framework will be created in 2 parts: 1 sub-part will be for age group 0-3 years old and the 2nd sub-part will aim at age group 3-8 years old. This framework will act as a guide for both the parents and the institutions.

ECCE shall be delivered through a significantly expanded and strengthened system of early-childhood education institutions consisting of (a) standalone Anganwadis; (b) Anganwadis co-located with primary schools; (c) pre-primary schools/sections covering at least age 5 to 6 years co-located with existing primary schools; and (d) stand-alone pre-schools – all of which would recruit workers/teachers specially trained in the curriculum and pedagogy of ECCE.

ECCE will based on following principles:

  • Will comprise of flexible, multi-faceted, multi-level, play and activity based, inquiry based activities
  • Will include activities such as: puzzles and logical thinking, music and dance based learning, counting, colours, shapes, drawing, painting, art & craft and other visual arts
  • Will aim at focus on developing social capacities, sensitivity, good behaviour, courtesy, ethics, personal and public cleanliness, teamwork, and cooperation

Thus, the overall aim of ECCE will be to attain overall development of kids, which includes:

  • Motor and physical development
  • Cognitive development
  • Socio-economical-ethical development
  • Cultural and artistic development
  • Development of communications in terms of language, literacy and numeracy

One of the goals of NEP2020 is to ensure ECCE is universally accessible. This will be ensured by giving special attention to the socio-economically weaker districts and locations. The delivery mechanism will include strong chain of early-childhood education institutes, which will include:

  • Standalone Anganwadis
  • Anganwadis co-located with primary schools
  • Pre-primary schools co-located with existing primary school (covering at least 5-6 years old)
  • Standalone pre-primary schools
  • In tribal-dominated areas, the ECCE will introduced in Ashramshalas and in all forms of alternative schooling, in a phased manner

All of these institutes will recruit teachers and workers specially trained in the ECCE curriculum and pedagogy.

The initial set of ECCE-trained teachers and workers will be trained through a systematic approach using the pedagogy created by NCERT. Under this program, the existing Anganwadi teachers and workers will be up-skilled basis the following format:

  • Teachers and workers with qualification of 10+2 and above will given a 6-month certificate programme in ECCE
  • The teachers and workers with lower qualification will be given a 1-year diploma programme in ECCE covering the basic aspects of Numeracy, literacy and other relevant aspects of ECCE

The delivery aspects of the above mentioned ECCE training are:

  • Programmed will be run through digital / distance modes, including DTH Channels, Smartphones, etc.
  • The Anganwadi teachers will be mentored by the Cluster Resource Centres (CRC) of School Education Department (SED)
  • In the long terms, State Governments will take responsibility of creating professionally qualified educators
  • Necessary facilities will be created and provided for initial preparation of professionals and their Continuous Professional Development (CPD)

The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) will be responsible for ECCE curriculum and pedagogy to ensure full attention to foundational aspects of education. The responsibility of initial implementation of the programme will lie jointly with MHRD, Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD), Ministry of Health and Family Affairs and Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

A special Joint Task Force will be created for smooth integration of ECCE in to School Education.

Here is a small video by Ministry of Education on the same topic:

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