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Delhi government asked to decide on change in rules for nursery admission

Pre-primary Education

25-09-2013

NDTV

The Delhi High Court today directed Delhi government to take a decision within three months on a plea for an amendment in admission procedure for nursery to bring it in line with the Right to Education (RTE) Act which prohibits screening of children for admissions.
A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice Manmohan disposed of a PIL while directing Delhi government and the Lieutenant Governor (LG) to take a decision within 12 weeks on the representation of Social Jurist, a civil rights group, seeking amendment in the Recognised Schools (Admission Procedure for Pre-Primary Class) Order, 2007.
The plea sought amendment in clause 14 of the order in the nursery admission process, to bring it in line with Section 13 read with Section 2(o) of the Right to Education (RTE) Act which prohibits screening of children for admissions.

According to the PIL, Delhi government had in its 2007 order given freedom to private unaided recognised schools here to frame their own guidelines for nursery admissions.
Petitioner NGO’s counsel Ashok Agarwal, argued that by giving a free hand to the private unaided recognised schools to formulate their own guidelines for nursery admissions, the government had violated Section 13 of the RTE Act.
The lawyer argued the High Court had in its February 19, 2013 judgment on another petition, said “though we have held that the RTE Act is not applicable to nursery schools, in our opinion there cannot be any different yardstick to be adopted for education to children up to the age of 14 years irrespective of the fact that it applies to only elementary education”.
“It is the right time for the government to consider the applicability of the RTE Act to the nursery classes as well, as in many states admissions are made right from the nursery classes and the children so admitted are automatically allowed to continue from Class I…,” the bench had stated, according to the plea.
The lawyer submitted the High Court had also stated that the petitioner was asked to give a representation to the LG for making an appropriate amendment in the government order granting autonomy to unaided schools to frame guidelines for nursery admission.
Claiming that a representation was made to the LG, the counsel said there was no response from the government so far.

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Early Childhood Care and Education Policy proposed

Curriculum Development, Pre-primary Education

With the aim of providing integrated services for the holistic development of all children from the prenatal period to six years, the government has proposed a National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy that lays down the way forward for a comprehensive approach towards ensuring a sound foundation for every child. India has 158.7 million children in the 0-6 age group as per the 2011 Census.

Broadly, the policy focuses on re-structuring the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme and integrating early childhood education with the Right to Education Act to ensure a smooth transition into formal schooling. All service providers will have to be registered with the State governments to ensure quality of services provided.

Early childhood is acknowledged as the most crucial period in a person’s life, when the rate of development is very high and foundations are laid for cumulative lifelong learning and human development. There is growing scientific evidence that the development of the brain in the early years is a pathway that affects physical and mental health, learning and behaviour throughout the life cycle.

Despite the existence of multiple service provisions, there is no reliable data available about the actual number of children attending the existing ECCE provisions and their break-up as per the delivery of services. Of the 158.7 million children in the below-six-years category, about 75.7 million children — 48 per cent — are reported to be covered under the ICDS scheme. Broad estimations indicate that a significant number is also covered by the private sector, besides some limited coverage by the NGO sector, for which there is no data available.

The quality of non-formal preschool or early childhood care and education imparted through these multiple channels is uneven, and varies from a minimalist approach to a mushrooming of accelerated academic programmes. This is largely an outcome of an inadequate understanding of the concept of ECCE, its philosophy and its importance among all stakeholders. This — coupled with inadequate institutional capacity in the system and an absence of standards, regulatory norms and mechanisms as well as a lack of understanding of the basic premise of ECCE — has aggravated the problem, observes the draft policy put out by the Ministry of Women and Child Development Ministry.

This ECCE policy will cover all early childhood care and education programmes and related services in public, private and voluntary sectors in all settings across regions. These services include anganwadis (AWC), crèches, play schools, preschools, nursery schools, kindergartens, preparatory schools, balwadis, and home-based care.

The policy seeks to universalise the provision of ECCE for all children, mainly through the ICDS scheme in the public sector and other service provisions across systems. The Anganwadi Centre would be repositioned as a “vibrant child-friendly Early Childhood Development Centre” with adequate infrastructure and resources for ensuring a continuum of the ECCE in a life-cycle approach and child-related outcomes. Conversion of AWCs into AWCs-cum-crèches with a planned early stimulation component and interactive environment for children below 3 years will be piloted. Young children with different abilities would be reached out to. Service-delivery models will be experimented for family, community, and NGOs.

To standardise the quality of ECCE available to children, basic quality standards and specifications will be laid down valid across public, private and voluntary sectors. A Regulatory Framework for the ECCE to ensure basic quality inputs and outcomes, across all service providers undertaking such services, will be progressively evolved at the national level and implemented by States in the next five years.

A developmentally appropriate National Curriculum Framework for the ECCE will be developed. It will promote play-based, experiential and child-friendly provision for early education and all-round development.

COMMITTEE

To sustain the multi-sectoral and inter-agency collaboration, a thematic ECCE Committee with experts will be formed under the ICDS Mission Steering Group initially and later formed as a National ECCE Council, with corresponding councils at the State level, and later at the district level. The council will be the apex body to guide and oversee the implementation of the policy as well as keep ECCE programmes consistent with the National ECCE Policy.

The Hindu, 26 March 2012

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‘Government neglecting pre-primary education’

Pre-primary Education

NAGPUR: The country’s largest primary teachers union feels the government is not doing enough for early childhood education.

Rampal Singh, president of All India Primary Teachers Federation (AIPTF), said, “The Right To Education Act will be focusing on children between the ages of 6-14. But there is no major plan to deal with the children in pre-primary sections. That is the age when the foundation for future educational road map is laid.”

In the city to attend a seminar organized by SAARC Teachers’ Federation (STF), Singh said his group was in discussions with the government to do more for early education. “The seminar organized in Nagpur is about the same and one cannot stress enough on the need for a strong base to support future education endeavours. Currently, the only presence government has in early childhood education is through anganwadi classes which too are not up to the mark,” he said.

Heading an organization which has, including affiliated unions, over 20 lakh members, Singh is now in dialogue with the central government to make amends. He said the current government policy in dealing with pre-primary education was a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Every child has different capabilities which have to discovered at very young age. A teacher requires skill to identify those and nurture them. For this, we have prepared a project report in collaboration with a Canadian educationist and submitted it to the central government. We have suggested radical changes that are better suited to modern times in the current teaching methodology,” said Singh.

He accepted that private institutions who ran pre-primary institutions were better equipped with infrastructure and manpower to guide and teach children.

NG Ganar, MLC representing teachers constituency from Nagpur, agreed that the government was ignoring the most important age group. “In Maharashtra, the anganwadi teachers are just given basic training on nutrition. There is a greater skill required in dealing with small children. Between the ages of three to six the child is very receptive to ideas,” said Ganar. STF’s two day seminar on Early Childhood Care and Education ended on Sunday.

DV Pandit, secretary general of SAARC Teachers Federation, said, “Our organization is a branch of the Education International, which is the biggest teachers’ union in the world. This year the theme of our parent organization is early childhood education and hence we decided to conduct seminars across the country.”

The Times of India, 30 January 2012

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Education in early age underlined

Pre-primary Education

BHUBANESWAR: Ignoring the early six years of a child’s life in terms of education can be damaging for the child’s future.

Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) focuses on these aspects. Under the Right of the Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, zero to six years of age does not come under the ambit of compulsory education.

Only children in six to 14 years of age have the right to free and compulsory education under the Act. This has led to neglect of the children by the governments in their nascent years.

These issues were discussed in a national seminar on ‘Quality Dimensions of Early Childhood Care and Education: Concerns and Issues’ organised by the Regional Institute of Education here. U N Dash, resource person, said it is not necessary to focus on academics during the developing years of the child.

They can be taught in a learning-friendly and supportive environment through story telling, dance, games and nature observations.Though the Odisha Government has a huge network of anganwadi centres that deal with children in the age group of zero to six, implementation has not been up to the mark.

“If the State government could raise more funds and invest them in education and healthcare, then these children could benefit greatly,” explained Dash. Around 100 participants comprising teacher educators, professors, academicians and PhD students participated in the seminar.

They had come from Kerala, Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.

IBNLive, 28 November 2011

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