Minister for Women and
Child Development, Smt Krishna Tirath, has called for evolving an Early
Childhood Care and Education Policy that promotes optimal development
and active learning capacity of all children below 6 years of age.
She was addressing a gathering of eminent child experts, policy makers,
senior government officials from child development and education
departments and representatives from non-government sector who discussed
the draft national policy (called ECCE Policy) over a full day and came
out with a number of recommendations last evening.
The major planks of the draft national policy, as the Minister outlined,
are universal access, equity and quality and strengthening capacity
The minister emphasised that ECCE provisions will be governed by a
strong quality framework. The policy seeks to universalize the
provisions of ECCE for all children mainly through ICDS, which has a
network in all nooks and corners of the country. Special plans will be
developed for the most marginalised and vulnerable groups besides
repositioning of anganwadi centre (AWC) as a vibrant child-friendly ECD
centre with adequate infrastructure, financial and human resources for
ensuring a continuum of ECCE in a life cycle approach and child-related
outcomes. AWC cum crèches with provision of full range of services,
including care, planned early stimulation; health, nutrition and
interactive environment for children below 3 years will be developed,
piloted and scaled up in response to the community needs. The minister
added that the national ECCE policy will be the guiding light for ICDS
and ECCE provisions across the country.
The ECCE proposes early stimulation for under 3’s largely through
parental involvement and a joyful learning programme for 3-6 years old
children. She added that context-specific curricula may be developed
within these broad parameters.
The recommendations of the day-long National Consultation included
creation of an enabling environment for private sector involvement to
achieve Access, Quality and Equity, espousing an approach of convergence
between policy, curriculum, training and other relevant standards,
strengthening of institutional capacity building, rationalising child
trainer ratio and distance from centre, fine-tuning the assessment &
accreditation and grievance redressal mechanism, and time line for each
activity of the programme. It also called for closely working with the
Ministry of Human Resource Development to address the specific problems
of the disabled and linking of early childhood education with Sarva
Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA).
Earlier, in his opening remarks, Mr Prem Narain, Secretary, Minstry of
WCD said that the Ministry proposes to strike a balance between
centralised and decentralised governance for running of ECCE programme
and also constitute a national body to oversee the policy framework for
consistent and effective implementation of the policy framework.
Regulatory authorities in the respective States shall ensure effective
administration of the policy framework.