Early childhood age (defined as the years from birth to eight years) , is a critical period that sets the stage for a child’s mental growth and learning trajectory. Researches from ‘Neurobiology and Cognitive Development’ suggests that 90% of brain development occurs in the first six years of life. During these vital years, significant development in emotional, intellectual, cognitive and number skills occurs systematically, while acquiring simpler abilities and paving way for the more complex competencies. This means ‘Early Childhood’ offers an effective window of opportunity to shape the child’s overall personality, while improving educational, socio-emotional and economic outcomes.
The potential of intertwining ‘holistic development’ with ‘Early-age Education’ has not escaped from the eyes of policymakers in India. And thus, while reiterating the need for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), the ‘National Education Policy 2020’ has attempted to shift its gears from typical rote learning practice to an experiential learning model. In this article, we will have a detailed look on how the ‘NEP 2020’ will revamp the existing education system and bring in a paradigm shift in the ‘Early Child Education’ structure:
Foundational Literacy and Numeracy: A recent survey indicates that numeracy and literacy skills of Indian children are much lower than the world standards. Dragging the attention on these distressing statistics, NEP has addressed this crisis by inculcating the value of foundational literacy and numeracy skills in Early-childhood curriculum and pedagogy. To focus on foundational learning, the NEP proposes new curricular and pedagogical structure, with 5+3+3+4 design for 3–18 age-group. Under this, pre-primary and grades 1–2 is considered as foundational stage; grades 3–5 as preparatory stage; grades 6–8 as middle stage and grades 9–12 as secondary stage. Also, NEP recommends to implement a robust system of continuous adaptive assessment — that would track and personalize each student’s learning.
Prioritizing multidisciplinary thinking at early age: The speed at which the world is moving towards ‘Information and Technology driven society’, it clearly indicates that educated individuals can no longer continue to live in a bubble of limited knowledge and understanding. Highlighting the need for a well-rounded, holistic and flexible education, NEP has introduced a multidisciplinary system of education in the school classrooms. Multidisciplinary system will help the child to prepare for different kinds of professional roles and academic success — while equipping them with broad skill sets and critical competencies. In the longer run, this system would provide the freedom to explore opportunities and access multiple disciplines, while having a deep understanding of the core subjects and thereby showing positive learning outcomes. In simpler terms, the multidisciplinary approach to early-age education will transform the child into creative, skilled and intellectually curious learner — who is prepared for the future world of tomorrow.
Focus on Teacher’s Development: The National Education Policy 2020 has placed the ‘Role of Teacher’ at the center of the fundamental reforms in the education system. Therefore, NEP has laid a considerable emphasis on ‘Teacher’s education and development’ — wherein teachers will be trained, encouraged, and supported with continuous professional development to impart foundational literacy and numeracy. A key focus area of NEP is transforming the ‘quality of teaching,’ where the teacher will be empowered to lead the change in the education system. Further, as teacher-student ratio is a significant indicator of child’s early learning process, NEP tends to focus on ’1:30’ (teacher-student ratio) in pre-school classrooms. This will help the teacher to give an individual attention to each student and thereby track their strength, weakness and progress through robust evaluation system.
Embrace Technology in Classrooms: In order to increase classroom participation and promote inquiry-based learning, NEP has proposed to bring the technology in the classroom and thereby tackle the traditional problem of one-size-fits-all learning. With AI-based learning tools, the educator will be able to tailor instructions and assessments for every single student at an individualized level ,while creating an unique learning path for each student. Such thoughtful use of technology in the classroom can help the young children to engage key skills such as spatial thinking, self-expression, and computational thinking, and expand their horizons beyond traditional book-based learning.
Creating a generation of life-long learners: With the mainstreaming of automation and artificial intelligence, the future job market will hire professionals — who are well-rounded with the skills such as critical thinking, logical reasoning, problem solving and communication. As the broad set of cognitive and critical skills helps to inculcate the habit of lateral thinking in the child , it will not only help them to solve modern-day business problems, but also foster a mind-set for lifelong learning. As a consequence, NEP focuses on developing the critical thinking abilities in the formative years of education, while cultivating the habit of ‘self-directed learning’ at an early age. Teachers can achieve this goal by creating an interactive and intuitive learning environment — that encourages the child to share knowledge, collaborate with other children and have a healthy discussion in the classroom. In this manner, the teacher can ignite the curiosity streak of the child and foster a mind-set of lifelong learning.
Conclusion: It is indeed commendable that the NEP policy has laid focus on universalization of ECCE, while addressing some of the crucial developmental needs of the children; but the lack of a clear roadmap for implementation, silence about the budget allotments and political vagaries are a few areas that mainly makes us concerned about the successful implementation of NEP. Moreover, NEP 2020 is said to transform the existing education system by 2030, while creating little or zero impact on the current school-going children. This means the reforms or changes proposed by this policy is not expected to be included in the ‘Early Childhood Care and Education’ (ECCE) by the next decade, thus creating another generation of passive learners and knowledge muggers. So, is it right to let your child be a part of existing education system — that doesn’t place a focus on ‘skill-based’ pedagogy and ‘practical learning’? If no, then how can you make your child ready for the future competition and equip 21st century skills in them? The answer for all your such concerns is ‘BeyondSkool’!
BeyondSkool is world’s first upskilling academy that aims at bridging the jarring gap between what is required by the “New World Careers” and the child’s foundational skills. With the vision to create new-age innovators and influencers, BeyondSkool’s IQ+EQ+CQ integrated program tend to complement the current education system, while equipping the child to grow beyond the traditional models of learning. Built on the approach of developing child’s ‘Multiple Intelligences’ at an early age, BeyondSkool’s ‘Primary Years Enrichment Program’ covers subjects such as STEM Innovation, STREAM, Applied Math, Leadership Communication and LogiMath — that aims at holistic cognitive and creative development of the child. At BeyondSkool, our experienced educators will help the child to enrich their educational experience by showing them real-life applications of theories , while creating the habit of ‘conceptual learning’ and ‘critical thinking’ in them. Investing in your child’s early education with BeyondSkool would put your young genius on a promising path for lifelong learning and future success.
So, book a free online class and get ready to empower your child with valuable foundational skills!
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