With a draft national education policy (NEP) that envisions expanding the Right to Education Act to include three preschool-years prior to class 1, all Indian children would soon be able to enter the formal education system at the age of three.
The draft policy is also designated as part of the scheme of schools, rather that private pre-schools and anganwadis that presently cater to the 3-6-year age group, to be monitored and governed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD).
The outcome could be a revolution in the anganwadi scheme that has been supervised over more than four centuries by the Ministry of Women and Kind Development. The draft policy states that by the end of 2019, a Inter-ministerial Task Force will prepare a route for the transition.
The Human Resource Development Ministry is evaluating the effects of this move in the early phases. The ministry representatives said that additional expenses will come in the form of recruitment and training, facilities and teaching material, as well as dietary considerations (including the breakfast proposition for young kids).
The Department has not yet precise information about the proportion of kids in pre-schools or the anganwadi scheme. Since this is the responsibility of the WCD Minister for more than 40 years, the willingness to abandon it is not evident, one official said.
The draft policy commends Anganwadis ‘ contribution to health and nutrition, but points out that their education record is not so powerful. “Most anganwadis have stayed comparatively light on the social elements of ECCE [ or the Early Childhood Care and Education ], although they provided some basic mental stimulation, school and day care.
“Most anganwadis have stayed comparatively light on the social elements of ECCE [ or the Early Childhood Care and Education ], although they provided some basic mental stimulation, school and day care.
The supplies and infrastructure of anganwadi are presently rather poor ; as a consequence, more kids are often included between 2 and 4 years old range and less for 4-6 years of age, which are pedagogically critical ; there are also few educators trained in early childhood education or particularly involved, “the draft policy said.
It adds that private pre-schools frequently consist of formal training with restricted play-based education. A 2017 research from Ambedkar University found that “a large percentage of pre-primary school kids, government or private, in India, did not have the necessary skills in preparation for primary schools, states the draft Policy.
The draft policy provides the fresh integrated curricular structure for the ages of three to eight with a flexible scheme centered on play, activity and discovery, starting from the era of three.This framework should be introduced through training and reinforcement of Anganwadi skills in connection with a local main college, co-location of Anganwadis and pre-schools in elementary schools or construction of independent preschools in connection with a local main college.
The Human Resource Development ministers should be responsible for all elements of early childhood education, states the draft policy, as are anganwadi health facilities in the health ministry. “A detailed plan describing the operative and financial effects of integration of early childhood education with the school education system” will be drafted by a joint health, Human Resource Development and WCD taskforce.