School Readiness of ST Children in Government ECCE Centers: Quality, Equity and Inclusive perspectives

Prof. Laxmidhar Behera
Prof. I. P. Gowramma
2018

The early six to eight years of a child’s life are regarded to be the most critical years for lifelong development as the pace of development during these years is extremely rapid. So, the National Policy on Education (1986) recognized the importance of early childhood care and education (ECCE) and suggested to make ECCE programmes child oriented with a focus around play and individuality of the child. The 86th Constitution Amendment Act 2002 has altered the article 45 to read, “The state shall endeavour to provide early childhood care and education to all children until they complete the age of six
years”. Early childhood care education (ECCE) is a critical input for child development.  The ECCE programme helps in school readiness.

School readiness has been based on the assumption that there is a predetermined set of skills and abilities that all children need before entering primary school. Most specifically in India, it is assumed that children entering primary schools would have achieved the basics of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic (commonly known as 3R’s). A large number of children in our country are first-generation learners and come to school without social, academic or language readiness (Govt, of India, 2013). What we expect children to know and do before entering school will be guided by three basic factors:

  • The diversity of children’s early life experiences as well as
    inequity in experiences;
  • The wide variation in young children’s development and
    learning; and
  • The degree to which school expectations of children entering preschool are reasonable, appropriate, and supportive of individual differences.

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School Readiness of ST Children in Government ECCE Centers: Quality, Equity and Inclusive perspectives