NCERT shuns academic targets, focuses on producing capable preschoolers
The NCERT wants to take away part of the emphasis the education system currently puts on marks, and focus instead on children's personality. It plans to start young: soon, preschoolers might be assessed on personal and social attitudes. Are they too tense? Do they share possessions with friends? Can they express themselves verbally? These are some of the parameters children will be assessed on.
What exactly does 'preschool' refer to?
A preschool is an informal educational setting for children aged three-six. In India, it might refer to the pre-primary, preparatory, nursery, LKG and UKG classes, or to the anganwadi and balwadi schools.
Why were new guidelines needed for the kids?
Though focus on academic learning is anyway less in preschool, it currently doesn't put emphasis on character building either. The new guidelines were developed because "through continuous observation and assessment, it becomes easy to plan early learning experiences to match children's needs and challenge their abilities." "The main purpose...is to get to know them, identify their needs and support their learning," the draft read.
These are some parameters on which they will be judged
Preschoolers will now be assessed on their friendliness with other children, initiative, ability to carry out tasks independently, and tendency to spend time in activity areas, among others. They will be judged on whether they can hold pencils properly, think of new ways to use blocks and other creative toys, and solve age-appropriate puzzles. Teachers will have to make daily observation and keep notes.
NCERT introduces novel learning methods for nursery kids too
Not even a week ago, NCERT introduced a mental skill-focused learning model for nursery kids. For one, it bans children under three from joining nursery. Children will be taught hygiene, self-awareness, and creative expression. They will also be taught about "bad touch." The NCERT has roped in parents too, directing them to have conversations with their wards and ensure ample family time.
Is the current system capable of handling this new model?
The basis of an individual's personality is formed early in life. Considering that, NCERT's new techniques can contribute towards making children capable, smart and caring. However, unlike exams wherein students are numerically ranked, there wouldn't be objective assessment criteria in this system. Hence it is important that teachers are mentally equipped to carry out such a program. For that, they might need special training too.