When viewed holistically, such factors as parents’ traditional mindset, underdeveloped infrastructure of education system including that of the schools and lack of resources have been stumbling blocks in the progress of India’s education sector to meet the challenges that generally arise in children’s preschool stage. The first six years of the children is assessed to be a very crucial period in their life as this remains the high time to nourish their educational roots properly. So, keeping in view the current scenario in India, I have tried to highlight the major deterrents in the way we want to see our preschools in the race of development and also illuminated the suggestive measures to achieve the goal in this sphere.
Obstacles in the way of India’s Preschool Sector
Though the number of preschools has increased considerably, their quality is still found to be distinctly modest. The sector is not governed properly that caused emergence of several problems.
Almost zero mechanism to register and certify the preschools
Apart from almost no mechanism for registration and certification of the preschools, the necessary criteria on determination of the size and space of the building for school besides the quality of the infrastructure or security and safety standards are poor.
Absolute lack of standardized curriculum
Despite having extreme lack of standardized curriculum, all schools are found on the forefronts in emphasizing on following the latest methods and techniques.
Tradition of Rote Learning
So far as memorizing of any lesson is concerned, the students are even forced to adopt the traditional rote learning method. In such case, children remain unable to understand what actually is said in the lesson, while he succeeds in mugging up only.
Every parent aspires to get their kids’ admission in high standard preschools but the exorbitant fees charged by the schools go beyond their affordability as the majority of the parents in India spend maximum around Rs 3,000 a month in a tier-I city, about Rs 150 per month on their children in Aanganwadi centers in rural India.
Extreme dearth of well-trained and certified teachers
The biggest challenge to the education sector in India has been the extreme lack of well-trained and certified teachers. In hope of providing their children the best possible education, the parents send them to preschools, but unfortunately the teachers employed there are not worthy of meeting the requisite standard.
Suggestive measures to elevate the standard of India’s preschool sector
Despite the fact that India lags behind in improving its preschool sector vis-à-vis those of international ones, it is worthwhile to claim that India’s ECCE (Early Childhood Care and Education) sector has brought into existence some of the best preschools in the world. However, this scarce number of preschools of such standard will not meet the need. The ECCE sector is in need of better regulation that can be initiated by implementing a few suggestive measures.
Registration of schools
Registration of schools will help maintain a record of every new entrant into the domain ensuring sufficient source to trace and account for any requisite thing.
Improvement in Curriculum
Globally, there are numerous curriculum for preschools. Hence, rather than designing a new curriculum and making specific infrastructure, the government must prepare a list of all approved curriculum to implement. These appropriately structured curriculum can fulfill the following necessary facets of education:
The curriculum must help teachers become sound in knowledge and able to make their daily planning for each student and the class. It should make them able to create an atmosphere that inspires them to explore learning materials and to discuss with adults and classmates. On the other hand, the government should simply release a list of approved curriculum.
Well trained teachers
Well-trained and skilled teachers have always been a precious asset for both students and schools. So, the schools must have well trained and well educated teachers possessing good teaching skills. For this, ECCE teacher training needs to be added as a skill lacuna in the list of NSDC that will ensure hassle-free investment present for producing more ECCE teachers.
Increase in enrollment
It is necessary to conduct the proper enrollment of children. For this, the government must incentivize parents to get their children enrolled. This can be made viable by providing some tax relief, especially for women who send their kids to preschools. Such norm is followed in many western countries such as the UK and the USA. The government may also give some educational aids to those parents who fall in below poverty line category and others of such kind.
Safety and Security
Safety and security matter the most, especially for preschoolers of such a tender age as their needs are very different. Therefore, it should be made obligatory for each school to set up separate areas for ECCE (0 to 6 years old) kids.