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Educationworld Early Childhood National Conference 2018 Education

The eighth consecutive EW ECE National Conference attracted over 300 delegates including principals, promoters, and educators from India’s top-ranked preschools who discussed ways and means of extending professionally administered ECCE to cover all of India’s 164 million children in the 0-6 age group - Summiya Yasmeen

The eighth annual EducationWorld Early Childhood Education National Conference 2018, convened on January 20 at Bangalore’s Shangri-La Hotel, was a resounding success. India’s pioneer early childhood care and education (ECCE) conference, first staged in Mumbai in 2010, has evolved into the country’s most prestigious and important national forum for discussing and debating challenges confronting the ECCE sector. The 2018 conference attracted over 300 delegates including principals, promoters, and educators from India’s top-ranked preschools who discussed ways and means of extending professionally administered ECCE to cover all of India’s 164 million children in the 0-6 age group.

Welcoming the speakers and delegates who filled the massive conference hall of Shangri-La to full capacity, DilipThakore, publisher-editor of EducationWorld (estb.1999), acknowledged the “extraordinary work being done by early childhood educators countrywide”. “According to Nobel laureate economist Dr. James Heckman, a dollar invested in ECCE is a much better investment than several dollars invested later in the education continuum in terms of social and economic returns to society. But unfortunately in India, ECCE is severely neglected. Of the country’s 164 million children in the age group 0-6, only an estimated 10 million enrolled in private preschools receive professionally administered ECCE, 84 million receive rudimentary early childhood education in the country’s 1.3 million government anganwadis, while the remaining 70 million children are left to fend for themselves — a waste of high-potential human resources of colossal scale. The public interest demands that all 164 million children are urgently provided high-quality ECCE,” said Thakore.

The day-long conference, sponsored by schoolshop.in, Fitterfly India Pvt. Ltd and Afairs Media & Exhibitions, featured an interactive workshop and five EducationWorld Exchange keynote addresses followed by an interactive session. The two-hour interactive workshop — ‘Transforming Early Years Educators into Leaders’ — which was first on the day’s busy agenda, was conducted by Amrita Randhawa, an education postgrad of Harvard University and head of faculty at The Educator Development Academy (TEDA), Bangalore (estb. 2017), an affiliate of EducationWorld. TEDA offers professionally designed training and development programmes to early childhood and primary educators including principals, teachers and support staff. Randhawa was assisted by TEDA faculty members AgataRutkowska-Mandava (an alumna of Newcastle University, UK and Teacher Education College, Warsaw) and Basanti C.S. (Algappa University).

The afternoon session featured five short duration keynote addresses on issues critical for delivery of quality ECCE to the nation’s neglected 164 million children in the 0-5 age group. They included: ‘NECCE Policy — Time to bring it out of deep freeze’ by Dr. Rekha Sharma Sen, professor in the Faculty of Child Development, School of Continuing Education, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi; ‘Should ECCE become a fundamental right?’ by Dr. Niranjanardhya V.P, fellow and programme head for Universalisation of School Education Programme at the Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University, Bangalore; ‘Do we need a National Curriculum Framework for ECCE?’ by Divya Punjabi, culture custodian of Kangaroo Kids and Billabong High International group of schools; ‘Encouraging ECCE affiliation boards’ by Swati Popat Vats, founder president of the Early Childhood Association of India and ‘Mother tongue or English as medium of instruction in preschools?’ by ShailajaMenon, head of the Early Literacy Initiative at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad.

Moreover, interspersed between the interactive workshop and keynote addresses, was the EW India Preschool Rankings Awards ceremony during which the country’s best pre-primaries from 16 cities, which topped the EW India Preschool Rankings 2017-18 (see EW December 2017), were presented trophies and certificates of standing (see p.64) followed by the inaugural EducationWorld Promising Preschools of the Future Awards 2018 (p.82).

Early bird reactions

“The best part of the conference was the TEDA workshop. The keynote speakers were also very impressive. Thanks to EducationWorld, we have a national platform to share ideas and interact.” — ChandrikaRamakrishnan, principal, Mongrace Montessori House, New Town, Kolkata

“The conference was well-organised and the awards presentation flawless. The line-up of keynote speakers was excellent. I look forward to many more such EducationWorld events.” — Pooja Jain, principal, Jumbo Kids, Baner Road, Pune

“There were a lot of takeaways from the workshop and conference. It taught me about the nuances of leadership.” — DeepaliKarnwal, CEO, TheShri Ram Wonder Years, Gurgaon

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