By - January 15, 2020
January 15, 2020
While the importance of good early childhood education has been known for a long time, the draft New Education Policy (released in June 2019) links the “severe learning crisis” to what goes on with young children in India. The voluminous policy document points out that close to five crore children currently in elementary school do not have foundational literacy and numeracy skills.
The draft NEP points out that the major part of this crisis may well be happening before children even enter Std I. The document cites several possible reasons for this. First, many children enter school before age six. This is partly due to the lack of affordable and accessible options for pre-schooling. Therefore, too many children go to Std I with limited exposure to early childhood education. Like with everything else, children from poor families have a double disadvantage — lack of healthcare and nutrition on one side and the absence of a supportive learning environment on the other. Although the anganwadi network across India is huge, by and large, school readiness or early childhood development and education activities have not had high priority in the ICDS system.