The National Education Policy is very promising and futuristic which takes into consideration that the first 1000 days are very a very powerful for the child. Due to this fact, the proper of early childhood surroundings is essential for every child. The hole between the existing learning outcomes and the outcomes which are in truth required, should be bridged by undertaking major reforms that bring the very best quality, fairness, and integrity into the system, correct from early childhood care and education through higher education.
Currently, children in the age group of 3-6 aren’t covered in the 10+2 constitution as Class 1 begins at age 6. Alternatively, the new National Education Policy is based on 5+3+3+4 constitution wherein a strong base of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) from age 3 may be included, which will surely help in promoting better learning, development and the overall well-being of children.
ECCE ideally consists of bendy, multi-faceted, multi-level, play-based, activity-based, and inquiry-based learning concepts which comprise of alphabets, languages, numbers, counting, colours, shapes, indoor and out of doors play. Puzzles, logical thinking, problem-solving, drawing, portray and other visual art, craft, drama and puppetry, music and movement are also an integral a part of the concepts. It also includes a focus on developing social capacities, sensitivity, good behaviour, courtesy, ethics, personal and public cleanliness, teamwork and cooperation.
The major aim of ECCE is to attain optimal outcomes in the domains of: physical and motor development, cognitive development, socio-emotional-ethical development,
cultural/artistic development, and the development of communication and early language, literacy, and numeracy. The attempt to hone a child from the foundational age of 3 years instead of 6 years brings our new education policy at par with the global developed nations, but it’s the point of interest on education technology that takes it ahead of them by leaps. The most efficient part is that the Policy aims to include every child, without reference to the location, who is especially socio-economically deprived.
The emphasis on ECCE teacher training if for Anganwadis or preschool teacher in accordance with the curricular/pedagogical framework developed by NCERT, provides a great impetus to the teachers, mentioning the different mediums like digital/DTH to train them. The policy reflects on the dearth of professionally trained teachers at different levels which is among the main causes of low quality in ECCE and large pupil to teacher ratio or high rates of illiteracy. Hence, it tries to cover up the hole by filling up teacher vacancies at the earliest.
On the curriculum side, there will be an increased focus on foundational literacy and numeracy – and in most cases, on reading, writing, speaking, counting, arithmetic, and mathematical thinking – all over the preparatory phase.
At present, with the lack of universal access to ECCE, a large proportion of children already fall at the back of inside the first few weeks of Grade 1. The Policy also aims to make sure that all students are school-ready, an interim 3-month play-based ‘school preparation module’ for all Grade 1 students, consisting of activities and workbooks around the learning of alphabets, sounds, words, colours, shapes, and numbers, involving collaborations with peers and parents, which will be developed by NCERT and SCERTs.
The greater focus is on experiential learning – a key element in international education and curriculum options. This means more projects, better real-life training, more interactions and better skills. With these developments, one is left with options that are on similar levels of quality, flexibility and exposure. The National Education Policy has in reality tried timed to address the needs of the 21 st century and tries to create a student-friendly surroundings in schools and colleges, for their holistic development. All in all, this is a progressive and visionary policy and its success will be directly proportional to its implementation and execution, virtually.
(Creator Preeti Kwatra is Founder and Director Petals India’s Pre School Club. Views expressed here are personal.)