The Right of Children to Fre e and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2010 guarantees children their right to quality elementary education.
In India, according to Census 2011 data there are 164.48 million children of 0-6 years of age. Recognizing the need to provide quality pre-primary programmes, a number of constitutional and policy provisions have been made such as the 86th Constitutional Amendment which introduced Article 21A on the right to free and compulsory education for 6-14 years old children and Article 45 to urge states to provide ECCE for all children until they complete the age of six years.
The Right of Children to Fre e and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2010 guarantees children their right to quality elementary education. ECE is not recognized as a compulsory provision by RTE, but RTE urges states to provide free pre-school education for children above three years. The 12th Five Year Plan acknowledges the importance of ECE and improving school preparedness.
The Government of India approved the National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy in 2013. The Policy framework also includes the National Curriculum Framework and Quality Standards for ECCE.
Despite the recognition of the importance of ECE by the Government of India, the challenges in implementation still remain. There are still substantial numbers of children not enrolled in preschools. Even in elementary education, while there is a significant rise in enrolments, the dropout rate continues to be a matter of concern, with drop outs being highest in the first two grades of elementary schooling. Learning assessments also show that literacy skills are poor in early primary grades. This points to the urgency of helping children, particularly from first generation families, develop adequate school readiness through a good quality ECE programme, to enable them to make a smooth transition.
The Associate Professor, Center for Early Childhood Education of Development, Ambedkar University Delhi, Dr. Sunita Singh said,” We know from evidence of neuroscience that early childhood is a critical year for learning and development to know how children grow up in the later years. Learning cannot happen by itself and an effort has to be made.”
Sharing her experience in the childhood space, Dr. Anita Madan, Head Content, Euro Kids, said,” Working in the childhood space, we have come across many questions from the parents that demanded our attention like what is the right age, which school should we prefer, and why does a child need a play school
“We believe that early childhood learning starts between 0-8 years. It is majorly what the child learns during this time span and at this age, the entire emphasis is on the child, be it socially, emotionally, intellectual development. The brain is the most deceptive, and a child learns the most during this age”, said the Content Head of Euro Kids.