Saturday, March 30, 2013

Odisha: Education in the early childhood years is much broader than pre-schooling

Odisha: Education in the early childhood years is much broader than pre-schooling
Friday, June 29, 2012 
Report by India Education Bureau; Bhubaneswar: Around 80% of the total brain development of a child occurs in the age of 3 to 6 years. “Education” in the early childhood years is much broader than pre-schooling, incarcerating learning through early motivation, guidance and a range of developmental activities and opportunities. Young children’s experiences in the first years produce the groundwork for successive learning in their later phases. Therefore, no society should leave any child behind. ECCE is potency for human poise that transports advantage for the entire life. Therefore, ECCE must be made a fundamental right of every child of our country. This demand earned massive support in the launching of nationwide ECCE Campaign organized by National Coalition for Education, a voluntary Organization held at the Redcross Bhawan today. The workshop marked the participation of legislator, ECCE Activists, line departments of state government, working group on ECCE, 30 NGOs and INGOs and media persons to build consensus on the core areas of ECCE Intervention.
Participating in the campaign inauguration, Mr. Prasad Harichandan, Chief Whip, Opposition party, Odisha Legislative Assembly appreciated the effort of NCE and said that pre-school educations are like laying foundation in the life of a child. This serves as a school readiness programme. There is a need of continuous debate and putting pressure on the system so as to make it a political agenda, he added.
Mr. Ranjan Mohanty , State Representative, NCPCR raised various ground realities and challenges of RTE Implementation and said that ECCE can be very effective in case of drop-out and out of school children. There should more advocacy initiatives for its inclusion in the Act so that it can be realized like RTE Act 2009.
Ms. NamrataChaddha, Pravas Mishra, Ms.DharitriPattnaik, Mr.Kamalakanta Tripathy and other dignitaries also laid emphasis on the importance of its inclusion in RTE Act. While Naba Kishor Pujari delineated objectives of the campaign, Ms.Subhashree Das Gave formal vote of thanks for participating in this campaign drive initiative.
Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is the foundation for the childhood and prepare the child psychologically, socially and physically for the basic school education. Pedagogically, there is an organic linkage from Early Childhood Care and Education to post graduation studies in terms of different stages of childhood to adulthood. In terms of Right to Early Childhood Care and Education in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 there is an urgent need to recognise the whole process of childcare, childhood and education as one organic stage within which mutually complimenting and supplementing stages like pre-natal, post-natal crèches, pre-school, primary, elementary, secondary, higher secondary etc has been visualised in order secondary etc has been visualised in order to make the process more dynamic and continuous. Child development and education are inseparable organic process in education. It is important to mainstream Early Childhood Care and Education in the Right to Education Act till 18 years that includes all early childhood care and education .International covenants like United Nations Convention of Child Rights (UNCRC), Dakar Framework for Education for All (EFA) 2000 and many other commitments where India is a signatory are obligations to rethink the early childhood care and education in more holistic manner.
India has 158.7 million children in the 0-6 age group as per the 2011 Census. The approximate coverage is about 34 million children by the pre-schooling initiatives under ICDS. Despite the regular expansion of the ICDS, the coverage of children for ECCE is still as low as 40%. Though some states like Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Himachal Pradesh have improved their Child Development Index, still, there is a visible gap between the policy and its practices. Around 5 lakhs children under the age group of 3 -6 years are still not under the umbrella of ECCE. 70% of the AWCs run in the school compound. There has to be addressed different aspects of a child like cognitive development, physical and motor development, creativity and aesthetic appreciation, scientific ways of thinking and inculcation of healthy habits. The infrastructural facilities available are also discouraging. According to Annual Survey of Education Report (ASER) 2011, Around 25,453 million children enrolled in 456994 ICDS Centresof India but only 31 percent of them attend and participate there in a regular basis.
Important issues and the way we want ECCE
• Inculcate the Early Childhood Care and Education in the "Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 as an integral part.
• Facilitate dialogue between the Centre and States for accelerated implementation of the Right to Education Act, to compensate for the missed deadlines
• Apply appropriate push on respective ministries under your control to strengthen synergy between multiple departments and ministries to ensure smoother implementation of key provisions
Our specific Demands
• Universalize and mainstream Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) as a fundamental right.
• Making necessary amendment to include 0 to 6 and 14 to 18 years aged children in the "right of children to free and compulsory education Act 2009 which will take care of our own commitment as well as 6 Education for all goals.
• Ensure mother-tongue based pre-school education for 3-6 years children and allow scope to make Anganwadi centres vibrant through qualified and trained Anganwadi workers who can deal with psycho-social cases of the children.
• Ensure a child-friendly atmosphere in Anganwardi Centres and assure an enhanced budget under ICDS in the state.

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