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Changes in School Education Structure and Early Childhood Care & Education – New Education Policy 2020

Earlier this week, the Union Cabinet approved the National Education Policy, 2020, marking significant changes into the educational structure. Through this policy, various new systems have been created to develop not only cognitive capacities but also social, ethical, and emotional capacities and dispositions, as mentioned in the report.

This reconfiguration of the education system is being implemented to fulfill the goal of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which seeks to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by 2030.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development, in the policy report talk about how this policy has appropriately dealt with the unfinished agenda of the National Policy on Education 1986, modified in 1992 (NPE 1986/92).

The current ‘10 +2’ structure in the school education, is being modified into ‘5+3+3+4’, which covers the ages between 3 to 18.

– The Foundational Stage will consist of five years of flexible, multilevel, play/activity-based learning and the curriculum and pedagogy of ECCE.

– the preparatory stage comprises 3 years of education building on the play, discovery, and activity-based learning along with light text books and interactive classroom learning.

– The middle stage will mark the introduction of subject teachers for science, mathematics, arts, social science, and humanities.

– the secondary stage will comprise of four years of multidisciplinary study with greater depth, greater critical thinking, greater attention to life aspirations, and greater flexibility and student choice of subjects.

Among the number of changes introduced, a special emphasis has been given to the ‘Early Childhood care and education’. Taking into account that the current ECCE is not available to majority of children especially those from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds, with this policy NCERT is going to develop A National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPFECCE) for children up to the age of 8. It will be divided into 2 parts, first for the ages between 0-3 and second, for the ages between 3-8.

For ECCE in the new policy, Anganwadi Centres will be strengthened with high-quality infrastructure, play equipment, and well-trained Anganwadi workers/teachers. The Anganwadi teachers will be trained according to the ECCE framework, developed by the NCERT.

The planning and implementation of early childhood care and education curriculum will be carried out jointly by the Ministries of HRD, Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare (HFW), and Tribal Affairs.

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