The Cabinet Friday approved the National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy which,among other guidelines,mandates that playschools and crèches teach in their childrens mother tongues.
Though the policy,which is expected to benefit 158.7 million children below six years of age,does not preclude teaching of English,educationists are divided over it.
The policy also lays down that playschools and crèches have a programme of 3 to 4 hours a day,a classroom not less than 35 sq mt in size,outdoor space of 30 sq mt for 30 children,child-centric and age appropriate curriculum in the mother tongue,a teacher for every 20 children in the 3-6 age group and one teacher for every 10 children who are less than 3 years old.
To implement and monitor the policy,a national ECCE Council,as well as councils in states,will be set up within three months after it is notified.
The policy proposes several measures to improve quality of early childhood care and education in India.
The curriculum framework provides the broad guidelines to develop age and developmentally-appropriate curriculum suited to local needs and focussed on non-formal preschool learning as against rote learning. Each ECCE programme is expected to develop its own curriculum to meet the needs of its children,their families,the specific setting,linguistic culture and local community.