13th December 2019
The recent Draft National Policy on Education (2019) shared by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) recognized and included Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) as the Foundational Stage of rapid brain development, play and active discovery, spanning from 3 to 8 years.This indicates integrating the three years of pre-primary and the two years of Grades 1 and 2 into a composite unit with “a new integrated and flexible curricular framework and pedagogical structure for school education that is responsive and relevant to the needs and interests of learners at different stages of their development”.Through this upward extension, the policy aims to smoothen the transition from pre-school to the primary stage and consolidate the foundation for future learning.
Building on this policy framework, Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development (CECED) Ambedkar University, Delhi on the occasion of its decennial anniversary organized a seminar FOUNDATIONAL STAGE AS THE FIRST STAGE OF SCHOOL EDUCATION.The seminar aimed to unpack the comprehensiveness and complexity of this inclusion as articulated specifically in the context of foundational stage, while also sharing the recent developments that may support the further implementation of the policy at the national as well as at the state level.
There were two panel discussions. The first panel discussed the implication of Foundation stage to curriculum development, workforce development, developing linkages between preprimary and primary.Eminent educators and educationists gave their insights on these issues. The second panel was on showcasing different models that are being implemented to overcome the learning crises.
The event also witnessed the launch of the Book “Early Childhood Education and School Readiness in India: Quality and Diversity”. The book is based on the IECEI study, which is a longitudinal, mixed-method research study.Building upon the data from the IECEI study, CECED in collaboration with ASER published this book with Springer publications. The book has been conceptualized primarily around the concept of school readiness and aims to present a glimpse into the diverse pathways children follow in early years.It makes a comprehensive assessment of the quality of early educational experiences children are getting both at the preschool stage and in early primary grades and raises a serious concern that despite high enrolment in preschools, children’s readiness levels remain low at ages five and six.The publication raises a vital question- Are our children getting a sound foundation for school and for later life?