The National Education Policy is very favourable and futuristic which states that the first 1000 days are very essential for the child. That’s the reason, the optimum kind of childhood environment is very crucial for the child.
The space between the present learning outcomes and the outcomes that are actually needed must be supported by executing essential reforms that give the best quality, equity, and integrity into the system, straight from early childhood care and education by higher education.
Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)
Presently, kids in the age group between 3-6 year are not included in the 10+2 structure as class 1 starts at 6 years of age. The new National Education Policy follows 5+3+3+4 structure where strong support of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) from the age 3 is also stated, which will enable the promotion of better learning, growth and the complete well-being of kids.
ECCE mainly includes flexible, multi-faceted, multi-level, play-based, activity-based and enquiry-based learning topics which include numbers, alphabets, colours, shapes, indoor and outdoor play. The other concepts include problem-solving, logical thinking, painting, drawing, puzzles, craft, music and drama.
The main motive of ECCE is to get proper outcomes in the domains of:
- Physical and motor development
- Cognitive development
- Socio-emotional-ethical development
- Cultural/artistic development
- Development of communication and language, literacy & numeracy.
The attempt to raise a child from the foundational age of 3 years rather than 6 years brings our new education policy at level with the global developed nations but it’s the emphasis on education technology that takes it ahead of them. The best thing is that policy focuses to include each child, irrespective of the location, who is specifically disadvantaged.
How NEP 2020 Impacts Preschools & Preschoolers?
The NEP 2020 has not stated whether preschools will need to work as not-for-profit organizations but it does mention that a regulatory framework will be instituted for the education stages, including preschools. It mentions that public-spirited private schools or private philanthropic efforts will be promoted and that “all educational institutions will be held to similar standards of audit and disclosure as a ‘not for profit’ organization”. The policy focuses majorly on no-profiteering principle and implements it. Comprehensively, there is no exact guidance on how or till what extent the not-for-profit principle will be implemented to preschools. There should be no surprise if legislative or regulatory modifications (whenever they do arrive) state this line.
Some provisions of the NEP 2020 which can have a major impact on preschools are:
- The complete transformation of preschool curriculums will have to be done after the “National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education” established by NEP 2020 is created by NCERT based on the objective of the policy and national and international best practices.
- A separate team of professionally qualified ECCE educators will need to be coached for delivery of preschool education. The creation of these teams will be delegated to state governments and will be on the basis of specialised professional training, guiding and simultaneous growth.
- The state-level regulatory work routine will need to be reorganised with new and fewer functions for the Department of School Education (DSE) will be restricted to policymaking while complete analysis will be done by a new independent state-wide body named as State Schools Standards Authority (SSSA). The SSSA will be accountable for standard setting and oversight over schools under a new model based on self-regulation and disclosure.
Presently, with the universal access lacking to ECCE, a large part of kids already exists behind within the first few weeks of Class 1. The policy also makes sure that students are school-ready, a 3-month play-based ‘school preparation module’ for all class 1 students, including activities and workbooks surrounding within the learning of sounds, alphabets, colours, words, shapes, number, having collaborations with peers and parents, which will be created by NCERT and SCERTs.
More focus is on exponential learning – a major element in international education and curriculum options. This states more projects, better real-life training, more interactions and improved skills. With these developments, the only options that are on similar levels of quality, flexibility, and exposure. The National Educational Policy has nicely addressed the requirements of the 21st century and tries to develop a student-friendly environment in schools and colleges, for their complete development.
Summing up, it is a development-focussed and visionary policy and its growth will be directly related to its execution.