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ECA India welcomes NCF for foundational stage education

October 21, 2022

On Thursday, October 20, Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for foundational stage education of children in the three to eight years age group. 

Introduced for the first time, the NCF for foundational stage seeks to bring children aged three into the formal schooling system as proposed in the National Education Policy-2020 (NEP).

Welcoming the NCF, Dr. Swati Popat Vats, president, Early Childhood Association Association for Primary Education and Research (ECA-APER) says, “One of the lacuna in our early childhood education programs, both at the government and private level was the lack of a proper curriculum and framework for early years. We have ratified the UN convention of rights for children, in which ECE is a goal and commitment but yet we had never invested enough or committed to a proper curriculum and assessment that is developmentally appropriate. That is why it is time to rejoice that the NCF is here, it’s not time to crib or lament that it is 75 years late!”

According to Dr. Vats, the NCF differs from the previous frameworks in the following ways:

  1. Robustness of the document. Terms like curricular goals, competency, decoding, developmental delays, developmental goals, domains of development, emotional intelligence, encoding, experiential learning, integrated learning, holistic progress card, inclusion, multilingualism, spatial skills, subitising, whole language approach, mapping competencies – all these inform us that the document is not just a vision but shows the pathway, the tools and the training to achieve the goals set by the NEP-2020. 
  2. A lacuna that still exists in our country is the lack of a structured common ECE teacher training programme that can be implemented for all states and government and private schools alike similar to the B.Ed. programme. This framework serves as a teacher training and teacher guidance tool that will become the guru, mentor and teacher for all ECE teachers.
  3. Parents can use this document to judge the quality of early childhood education programmes before they enroll their children. Now parents can interview the school on areas of the NCF instead of the schools interviewing the child.
  4. Indian pioneers like Gijubhai Badheka, Tarabai Modak, Anutai Wagh, Gandhi  are acknowledged in this document and so are global pioneers like Rousseau, Froebel, Dewey, Montessori Jerome Bruner, Vygotsky, Piaget, and Bronfenbrenner. 

“Overall I would give 10 out of 10 to this 360 page  NCF as it scores heavily on research, vastness of areas covered, and a great combination of curriculum, assessment and teacher training. Easy reading, clear explanations, clearly mapped to the NIPUN document and a much necessary connection to the James Heckman theory of return on investment in ECE,” she adds. 

ECA-APER is organising its first workshop cum discussion on the NCF for the foundational stage on November 12 in Mumbai, and subsequently, in other cities too. For more details log on to  www.eca-aper.org

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