Right to Education will be bringing early childhood education under its umbrella to ensure that all children reap the benefits of quality learning in their formative years. There are challenges but with meticulous work, these can be overcome.
Quality preschool education in India lays a stable foundation for young kids to adapt to the concept of learning which prepares them for their upcoming school years and achievement of good grades in primary classes. And when there is a lack of readiness for the children to go to preschools, it ultimately becomes a high contributing factor for many kids to dropout as early as in their initial years of primary education.
The Indian education ministry has been striving towards bringing the preschool education under the umbrella of Right to Education Act (RTE). This is definitely a very important decision taken by the policy makers but there are many logistical and financial pressures that have to be dealt with. Bringing preschool education under the ambit of free and compulsory education however will certainly improve the existing condition of early childhood education. This will involve a significant overhaul in the workings of the Ministry of Women and Child Development that is dedicated to the cause of driving integrated child development policies for children below the age of six years.
The focus right now is to widen the ambit of RTE and include children falling in the ager group of four to six years.
The advantages of doing this would be many such as the following.
- More and more young children will be introduced to early years of learning.
- Elementary education will get covered more comprehensively. The infrastructure is something that still needs to be worked out more organically.
- Young children will hugely benefit from child-centered learning in a safe and hygienic environment. The idea of shifting the spotlight from ‘Right of access to Education’ to ‘Right to learn and quality education’ is being considered very seriously. This will obviously then yield many enhanced learning results.
- Some of the best preschool chains in India are already operational in different regions of the country where learning is delivered in a child-centric and child-friendly environment. There is better interaction between kids and teachers. Hence, it is strongly being advocated by experts that the need to increase the number of such schools is imperative in order to promote good quality early education in India.
This said, with respect to the financial and logistical concerns a lot of loose threads need tying up. This will involve setting up of lakhs of classrooms and getting on board almost an equal amount of trained teaching staff. Apart from this, there will be other costs such as teachers’ salaries, teachers’ trainings, and learning materials.
Ensuring quality preschool education in India is a major area of concern where a lot of work is required. The RTE and the Ministry of Women and Child Development can bring about significant changes in this realm and ensure that no child is left bereft of the benefits of early childhood education.
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