After three decades of following the same National Education Policy (NEP) which was formulated in 1986, the new NEP was released on July 29 this year. One of the most significant changes envisioned by the latest policy is at the very beginning of a child’s educational journey — early childhood care and education (ECCE). NEP 2020 has given the highest priority to building strong foundations early in a child’s life, a vision which can be found to be reflected in HPPI’s work in the field of early education.
According to UNICEF India, more than 70 million children attend pre-primary school in India. In a world which is increasingly becoming global, students need to be equipped with the right set of knowledge and skills to make them competent by global standards and be up to speed with new ways of learning. In India, Anganwadi centres or any pre-primary education centre plays an important role in providing children with a kickstart to holistic education.
With the latest NEP, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) will develop a National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care and Education (NCPFECCE) for children up to the age of 8. ECCE will be delivered through a significantly expanded and strengthened system of institutions including Anganwadis and pre-schools that will have teachers and Anganwadi workers trained in the ECCE pedagogy and curriculum. The planning and implementation of ECCE will be carried out jointly by the Ministries of HRD, Women and Child Development (WCD), Health and Family Welfare (HFW), and Tribal Affairs.
HPPI, through its early education programmes such as the Pre-School Children of the Future (PoF) and the Nand Ghar Project, implemented with support from Vedanta, has already been working to maximise the potentials of young children in Anganwadis or PoF centres.
Teachers at PoF Centres are trained to cater to the cognitive and psychosocial enhancement of children in the 3-6 years age group. Mostly linked to HPPI’s educational or Community Development Projects, or organised in cooperation with local Anganwadis, HPPI provides quality education to pre-school children and special focus is given to developmental needs of a student through four elements – Use your Brain, Use your Body, Use your Hands and Use your Imagination.
The PoF Centres also create a foundation in language and comprehension and provides young children a head start into primary school. Currently, 457 children are enrolled across 19 PoF centres of HPPI.
Nand Ghars are state-of-the-art Anganwadis which is a vision undertaken by Vedanta Foundation together with the Ministry of Women and Child Development to offer integrated education for children in the age group of 0–6 years while providing nutrition and hygienic sanitation facilities. HPPI is managing the Nand Ghar Project in partnership with the Vedanta Foundation with an aim to provide Early childhood development support to minimum 18,000 children in 0-6 years and health and nutrition services to minimum 36,000 pregnant women and mothers. HPPI is responsible for the Operation and Maintenance of the Nand Ghar Project across 13 districts of 4 states with 1,200 anganwadis/ Nand Ghars. Some of the many facilities at this modern Anganwadi include safe drinking water, mobile health vans, nutritious meals, clean toilets and awareness on practices that promote a healthy atmosphere for the mother and child.
The Project provides good infrastructure in the anganwadis/Nand Ghars and equips them with good facilities, training to the service providers who in turn provide quality services on early childcare & education, nutrition, the health of mothers, skill development etc. HPPI along with implementing best practices of pre-school education and community engagement also looks after the on-ground monitoring of nutrition and education thematic areas and supervises monitoring for skill, health and training component and builds the Nand Ghar into a resource centre for the community.
With the new NEP, our efforts in the areas of pre-school education and childhood care have become more pronounced and show a promising quality of education being imparted right from the beginning of a child’s educational journey.