Focus: GS-II Social Justice
- The National Education Policy (NEP) emphatically makes the case for early childhood care and education (ECCE).
- The NEP 2020 says that Schools providing quality ECCE reap the greatest dividends for children who come from families that are economically disadvantaged.
- Over 85% of a child’s cumulative brain development occurs before the age of six.
- Yet, over 5 crore children are estimated to not have attained foundational literacy and numeracy in India.
- At present, says the policy, children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds do not have access to ECCE.
What the NEP 2020 says?
- The NEP lays out a detailed paradigm for educators to provide high-quality ECCE through preschools and anganwadis.
- It also talks of how parents can be active stakeholders in their children’s education.
- Parents are their children’s first and natural tutors at that age. Involving them is necessary to ensure that children learn the foundational skills they need to succeed in school.
- At present, 30% of low-income parents don’t send their children to any ECCE institutions. Instead, many opt to send their children to primary school too early, when they are still cognitively and emotionally unprepared for Class 1 studies.
- Evidence suggests that low-income parents do value education from primary school onwards, spending a disproportionate amount of their monthly income on it. However, awareness of the importance of education at the preschool age is missing.
- Building aspiration through role modeling, mass media and social media involving examples of celebrities and influencers is the crucial first step.
- Once awareness and aspiration have been built, we must provide low-income parents with educational tools to support their children that they can themselves confidently administer.
- Now that 70% of mothers and even more fathers are educated up to Class 5 themselves, parents are usually equipped to understand the foundational skills that their children are learning at this age.
- We need to assist them in combing through the vast wealth of print and online content.
- Behavioural research on nudges, social incentives, and the power of creating habits demonstrates some possible ways to provide continuous feedback and encouragement.
- Measurement also acts as a powerful motivation mechanism.
-Source: The Hindu