Maneesh Garg, Co-Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education, explains: “This school readiness module is for all first graders with and without formal preschool education. The goal is to make sure all the kids are ready for grade one.
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To this end, the National Council for Educational Training and Research (NCERT) has developed a three-month game-based module that can be adapted or adopted by states and Union territories. (UT) as needed, Garg adds. “The module includes 12 weeks of game-based instruction at the start of the first year. It is designed to strengthen a child’s pre-literacy, pre-numeracy, cognitive and social skills. The module emphasizes three main development objectives, the key competences and the concepts to be developed; educational processes in the form of activities and worksheets for teachers; as well as the learning outcomes that children are expected to achieve after three months, ”says Garg.
Lack of teachers
One of the main obstacles to launching this concept at the rural level is the lack of teachers, believes Ruchira Singhal, founder and director of Future Starz, Meerut. “At a young age, all children need is compassion and enthusiasm to try new things from their teachers. I have met many young girls with Basic Education Certificate (BTC) and Kindergarten Teacher Training Diploma (NTT) who may have formal training, but do not have both of these requirements. basic, ”she says.
Ask these girls to explore schools in rural areas, and they wouldn’t agree, Singhal adds.
Advantage of going to the countryside
Reena Dhila, founder of the Shishyaa Waldorf School, Navi Mumbai, believes that children in rural areas have free access to a natural environment, which is a fundamental part of growth. “Parents in cities of level I and II follow a“ helicopter ”training, which hinders the creativity of the child. In rural areas, parents let their children become one with nature, increasing their curiosity, ”she says.
Young children in rural areas may not even need preschool or play education, Dhila adds. “The concept of a three-month preschool module fits perfectly into a rural context. As for teachers, children in these regions do not need qualified teachers but someone to look after them while they explore their surroundings and let their natural curiosity help them learn ”, shares- she does.
Seen as social work
Few preschool teachers just want to try something new. Malavika Jain, a former mother teacher at Sardar Doon Public School in Jodhpur, is a vocational counselor but wanted to diversify her profile. “I was hired on the basis of my qualifications and my spoken English. Not everyone is cut out to be a preschool teacher because the job requires patience, ”she says.
While Jain believes that having a similar job in rural areas would be a negative step in her professional growth, she says this is the profile best suited for social workers. “Education at this age is about instilling a value system and providing them with holistic learning. I think that NGOs, nuns and widows would be best suited for this job profile, ”she adds.
Obtain appropriate advice
Singhal says our elders involved us in activities that naturally instilled our abilities in gross and fine motor skills, cognitive behavior, and hand-eye coordination. “The same is required for the new module at the rural level. Basic training should be given to rural women because they would be the best guides for children in their region, ”she shares.
This step would also help children learn Indian crafts, local folk songs and native language, Dhila adds. “I didn’t go to school until I was seven, but I learned everything from my grandmother. Today, I believe that my success is due to this connection with my roots. So local women, who understand the child’s natural environment, would be the best teacher, ”she says.
Garg says, “NCERT has designed an integrated teacher training program known as NISHTHA (National Initiative for the Holistic Advancement of Heads of Schools and Teachers). It offers teachers the opportunity to share their problems with resource persons but also to present solutions to these problems through their activities.
As part of the NISHTHA, a personalized package for teachers in the foundational stages of education is designed to cover the continuum from preschool to the early years of elementary school, to meet specific content and educational requirements, Garg adds. “The average pupil-teacher ratio (PTR) in rural areas is better than primary level standards. However, the actual deployment is carried out by the states concerned, for which they are continually pursued and evaluated, ”he said.