8 Distributions of the National Education Policy 2020 to Early Childhood.
- According to the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s National Education Policy 2020, India is moving toward becoming a part of the three largest economies of the world. As India will be amongst the developed countries soon, the demand for Humanities and Arts will be higher accordingly. The climatic variations, increase in pollution and exhausting natural resources raises the question to meet the world’s energy, water, food, and sanitation requirements which in turn will ask for the need for new skilled manpower, especially in biology, chemistry, physics, agriculture, climate science, and social science. The increasing emergencies of pandemics will also call for collaborative research in disease management and the invention of vaccines which in turn intensifies the need for multidisciplinary learning.
- The rapidly changing employment topography requires the children not only to learn but learn how to learn. Therefore, education must move towards less content and learning how to think critically. Moreover, how to become creative and multidisciplinary, innovative, adaptive, and absorptive according to changing fields. Pedagogy must include education that is more experimental, integrated, holistic, discovery-oriented, flexible, and of course enjoyable. The curriculum necessarily includes the basic Arts, crafts, Games Sports, Humanities, Fitness, Languages, works of literature, Cultures, and values in addition to Science and Mathematics to bring development in all spheres. The education system must be capable of building character, ethics, compassion, and fulfillment of employment needs.
- The National Education Policy 2020 adds that the rich heritage of Indian knowledge has been a guiding light for this policy. The practice of knowledge (Jnan), wisdom (Pragya), and truth (Satya) was always considered the highest human goal in Indian philosophy. Ancient Indian institutions such as Takshila, Vallabi, Nalanda, and Vikramshila were considered world-class institutions, set the highest standards of multidisciplinary teaching and research, and led scholars and students from different backgrounds and countries. The Indian education system created scholars such as Aryabhata, Varahmihir, Bhaskaracharya, Bhrahmagupta, Chakrapani Datta, Madhava, and many more who contributed significantly to the world’s knowledge in diverse fields such as mathematics, astronomy, metallurgy, medical science and surgery, yoga, fine arts, chess and more.
MHRD, National Education Policy 2020 says that these rich legacies to world heritage must be nurtured, preserved, and put to new uses through our education system
4. The National Education Policy 2020 adds that teachers must be the center point of the sphere of fundamental reforms in the education system. The teachers shape our next generation of citizens, so it is essential to re-establish teachers at all levels as the most respected and important members of our society. Teachers must be empowered properly to do their job as efficiently as possible.
5. The National Education Policy 2020 must provide a quality education system to all marginalized, disadvantaged, and underrepresented groups. For the sake of knowledge, cooperation, and integration, it is necessary to infuse knowledge of India and its varied social, cultural, and technological needs, its incomparable artistic, language, knowledge, traditions, and its strong ethics in Indian youth.
1) Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE): The Learning Foundation:
- In current policy, class-1 begins at age 6, and children in the age group of 3-6 do not include in the 10+2 structure. In the National Education Policy 2020, a new 5+3+3+4 structure was introduced with a strong base of “Early Childhood Care and Education” in which age-3 will also be included, aiming at overall development, learning, and well-being.
- Presently, quality ECCE is unavailable to crores of young children, especially to those who are socially and economically disadvantaged. Strong investment in ECCE can enable all young children to have quality education throughout their lives. Therefore the universal provision of quality early childhood development, care, and education will be achieved before 2030; ensuring students entering Grade -1 are school ready.
- According to the National Education Policy 2020, ECCE will aim to obtain physical and motor development, social development, emotional development, communication development, and early language, literacy, and numeracy development. It consists of multi-faced, multi-level, play-based, activity-based, and inquiry-based learning including alphabets, languages, numbers, shapes, counting, colors, indoor and outdoor plays, puzzles, logical thinking, problem-solving, drawing, painting, drama, puppetry, music and movement, and visual art and craft.
- According to the National Education Policy 2020, NCERT will develop “A National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education” (NCPFCCE) in two parts. One part will be for children of the age group 0-3. The other part will be for the age group of 3-8. The National Education Policy 2020 says that this latest ECCE research work will take into account all the above directions and also include national and international practices. This framework will guide both parents, and early childhood care and education institutes.
- The high-quality ECCE shall be delivered through an enlarged and strengthened system of “Early Childhood Care and Education” institutions which include a) stand-alone Anganwadis, b) Anganwadis co-located with primary schools, c) pre-primary schools/ sections covering the age limit up to 5 to 6 years assembled with primary schools, d) stand-alone primary schools. All these institutions would recruit workers/teachers trained in the new curriculum and pedagogy of ECCE.
- According to the National Education Policy 2020, it is foreseen that before entering class 1 every child will have to go to a “preparatory class” or “Balvatika” which will have an ECCE-qualified teacher. There play-based learning will be applied focusing on developing cognitive, affective, and psychometric abilities, literacy, and numeracy. There shall be a mid-day meal facility for the preparatory classes in the primary schools. Moreover, health check-ups and growth monitory shall also be available to Preparatory Class students of Anganwadis and of Primary Schools.
- National Education Policy 2020 adds that to prepare a high-quality ECCE staff in Anganwadis, current Anganwadis staff will go through a systematic training program developed by NCERT. Workers/teachers of Anganwadis with qualifications of 10+2 & above shall be given a 6-month certificate program in ECCE, and lower than 10+2 shall be given a one-year diploma program that covers all the other relevant aspects of ECCE. To reduce disruption to their current work, these programs shall run through digital/distance mode using DTH channels and smartphones. The “Cluster Resource Centers” of the school education department will mentor the ECCE training of workers/teachers and their respective continuous assessment. Necessary facilities will also be provided for the initial professional preparation of these teachers and their “Continuous Professional Development”(CPD).
- The National Education Policy 2020 says that the Ashramshalas of tribal-dominated areas will not remain disconnected from the ECCE program. Even in all the formats of schoolings will be introduced effectively. The Ministers of HRD, Women & Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare (HFW), and Tribal Affairs will jointly carry out the planning and implementation of the Early Childhood Care and Education Curriculum (ECCE).
There will be a special joint task force that will guide the smooth integration of Early Childhood Care and Education into the schools.
2) Foundational Literacy and Numeracy as an Urgency:
The National Educational Policy 2020 tells that According to non-governmental surveys a large number of students at the elementary level- over 5 crore in number (estimation) are lacking foundational literacy and numeracy awareness i.e. the knowledge of the basic addition and subtraction with Indian numerals and ability to read, write and comprehend the primary text. Hence, the aim is to obtain foundational literacy and numeracy at the primary school level by 2025 (including students in Grade 3). Moreover, if the students will achieve the basic learning requirements (i.e. foundational reading, writing, and arithmetic) only then the rest of the policy will be relevant to them.
3) Implementation of attaining Universal Foundational Literacy and Numeracy:
The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) will be going to set a National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy on priority.
All-State/UT governments will prepare an implementation plan to achieve the desired goals & targets by 2025 and will closely track the progress of the same.
4) Appointment of Teachers:
According to the National Education Policy 2020 appointment of teachers will take place first in the disadvantaged areas and the areas with high illiteracy rates. Local teachers and the teachers well-versed in local languages will be given preferences. Pupil-teacher ratio will be ensured to 30:1 at the school level. Moreover, largely socio-economic disadvantageous areas will be aimed at PTR 25:1. Teachers will be given training and support through Continuous Professional Development so that they impart literacy and numeracy efficiently.
5) Systematic Arrangement of Foundational Literacy and Numeracy in Curriculum:
According to the National Education Policy 2020, to track and ensure each student’s learning, there will be a robust system of continuous formative/adaptive assessment especially for reading, writing, speaking, counting, arithmetic, and mathematic thinking. This system will be included in the preparatory and middle school curriculum.
There will be special hours on daily basis and regular events yearly that will involve activities to help enthuse and motivate students. The NCERT and SCERTs in collaboration with peers and parents will develop an “interim 3 months play-based”, “school preparation module” for grade-1 students that will include activities and workbooks for the training of alphabets, and words, shapes, colors, sounds, and numbers. The same will be implemented within the first few weeks of Grade 1 to ensure that all the students are school-ready.
6) Provision of National Depot for High-Quality resources on Foundational Literacy & Numeracy:
The National Education Policy 2020 states that there will be a provision of National Depot for high-quality resources for foundational literacy and numeracy. With the help of the national depot the “Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA)”, will be made available for teachers. It will help them bridge any language barriers that may occur between teachers and students.
7) Settlement of Libraries:
According to the National Education Policy 2020, the requirements of village area students, and school/public libraries will be set up to facilitate during non-school hours. “A National Book Promotion Policy” will be created to ensure the availability, quality, and readability of books in all genres, languages, and levels.
8) A Nutritious diet, Mid-Day Meal & Health Check-Ups:
The National Educational Policy 2020 adds that there will be proper health cards to monitor the health and well-being of the students. To maintain 100% immunization in schools, social workers and counselors will be introduced into the schooling system to address the nutrition and health (mental health) of children. Furthermore, as per the research, the morning hours after a nutritious breakfast can be proved productive for the cognitive development of children. To leverage these hours simple but energizing, breakfast will be provided in addition to the mid-day meal. Groundnut (chana) mixed with jaggery and/or local fruits may be given in locations where hot meals are not possible.
The National Education Policy 2020, has revealed the major issues of an education system that were being overlooked for decades. The introduction of the “Early Childhood Care and Education” program covers almost all the necessities and requirements of the children. Holding the goal to ensure the children are school ready before Grade 1 is appreciable. The aim to implement the attainment of Universal Foundational Literacy and Numeracy can be proved highly productive to the nation. Moreover, the motive to implement the “Continuous Professional Development” program regarding teachers’ professional development is another beneficial gesture. However, it is riveting to see how the National Education Policy 2020 will be implemented. Undoubtedly it is fascinating to see its galvanizing results on the upcoming generation!