The Aam Aadmi Party government plans to start 3,000 Early Learning Development (ELD) centres across Delhi in a bid to improve pre-primary education.
Ten pilot development centres will be launched within a month at select locations in Delhi, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on 20 October. "Currently, there's a learning gap between children and teachers. There's no basic understanding among kids, no motivation. Existing pre-primary education focuses on nutrition and healthcare of mother and child. Our pre-primary development centres will focus on activities such as exploring the brain and heart," Sisodia told Catch.
The pre-primary or pre-school development centres will admit children in the age group of 3 to 6 years. Each early learning development centre will enroll 50 to 100 students. The first ten learning centres will be launched in collaboration with Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD). For the first few centers, portable cabins will be set up within walking distance of localities.
"The centres will be within walking distance of the children - about 200 to 300 metres," said Sisodia. According to sources, the government might also use community centres for the initiative as a number of such centers are currently lying empty.
The early learning development are expected to run for a period of three years. In the long-run, the government plans to link it with MCD schools. The government will also identify NGOs and select academic groups while scaling up the centres.
The Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development (CECED), School of Education Studies (SES), Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) recently conducted survey to gauge the education of children in the 3-8 age group in rural areas. The survey, titled Impact of Indian Early Childhood Education (IECEI), found that children have weak foundation and school resources rank below average.
"Little children need to play not study. Learning is different from studying. There should no force on them. They should be able to choose what they want - study or play. Learning can happen through story telling, programmes and various other activities. One should encourage decision making activities," said Venita Kaul, Director, CECED.
"Many children are entering school without adequated school readiness levels," said Sisodia. "Studies prove that preschool education can make a significant difference later on. Currently, Anganwadis are more focused on nutrition, mother care, child care and pregnant woman. We want to bridge the gap," he further added.
Over the last two years, the current Delhi government has been trying to change the face of education in government schools by introducing a series of new initiatives. Two of the latest initiatives include parent teacher meetings and 100% reading challenge - under their Chunauti 2018 programme.
Edited by Blassy Boben