The National Education Policy 2020 recommends strengthening of learning of children at the ‘foundational stage’ as a national priority for the country. The foundational stage consists of 5 years of learning opportunities for all children (between 3 to 8 years) that includes 3 years of pre-school education and 2 years of early primary Grade-I and Grade-II. The policy thus promotes seamless learning and development of children from pre-school to Grade- II. This can only be done by ensuring accessibility to three years of quality preschool education for all children studying in Anganwadis or Government/Government-aided, private and NGO run preschool centers. Besides, the most important factor at the foundational stage is the availability of qualified teachers who are specially trained in the age and developmentally appropriate curriculum and pedagogy. The National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage(NCF-FS) has also been launched recently on 20.10.2022.
To fulfill this vision, the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education through D.O. letter 22-7/2021-EE.19/IS.13 dated 09.02.2023, has reiterated directions to all the State Governments and UT administrations to align their age to admission with the policy and provide admission to Grade-I at the age of 6+ years.
The States have also been advised to initiate the process of designing and running a two years Diploma in Preschool Education (DPSE) course in their State and UT. The course is expected to be designed by the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) and run/ implemented through District Institute of Education & Training (DIETs) under supervision and hold of SCERTs.
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