GUWAHATI, Dec 21 - Quality pre-primary school education is soon going to become a reality in the government-run primary schools of Assam, from the next academic session, in phases.
To meet this New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 goal, the Axom Sarba Siksha Abhiyan Mission has started the work of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) training of primary school teachers along with initiating measures for refurbishing the existing infrastructure to suit the requirements of pre-primary level children.
A total of 8,400 teachers of primary schools, which have anganwadi centres co-located in the school campuses, have been selected for the first phase of training.
Assam would be a pioneering State to institutionalise pre-school learning within the folds of formal education in public sector. Proven to be very effective in forming a strong foundation of cognitive learning, pre-primary education, as of now, is available only in private nurseries, inaccessible to children of the poor and most of the middle income group families.
As a part of the programme, one teacher each from 8,400 primary schools from across Assam would be given professional ECCE training in digital mode for classroom management, organisation, lesson planning, pedagogical practices, teaching learning materials and assessment.
A pilot training of 100 teachers from four districts of Assam is already under way digitally.
The training has been designed with support from experts in the field, including Vikramshila, SCERT and Central Square Foundation to create a cadre of professionally trained teachers.
Once trained, these teachers would also act as the mentors of the anganwadi workers.
�That pre-school learning among children of three to six years is imperative for better understanding of concepts is a proven fact. However, in government schools, where children are mostly enrolled at an age of six to seven years, that precious and most fertile time of brain development is lost. Now, with the NEP envisaging universalisation of pre-primary education, we have already started working on that front to launch it in government primary schools, in phases, from the next academic session,� B Kalyan Chakravarthy, Mission Director of Axom Sarba Siksha Abhiyan Mission told The Assam Tribune.
At present, 21,517 government primary schools of Assam have pre-existing �Ka-shreni�, which is a basic pre-primary classroom for children of five to six years. Of these, 8,400 schools also have anganwadi centres.
�It is heartening that the Government is planning to pay attention to early childhood education. The poor children, who are missing their pre-primary education by default, would be the most benefitted through this,� said Shubhra Chatterjee, Director, Vikramshila.
�The digital training module for teachers, designed in asynchronous mode, is a 20-hour duration course, having real-time monitoring system. Even when the schools reopen, the teachers can complete this course as per their convenience as it is divided in small modules for the ease of operation and understanding,� she added.
Moreover, a fund of approximately Rs 80 crore has been allotted from the MHRD for Assam�s pre-primary education. �Initially, we plan to provide infrastructure support to the schools having �Ka-Shreni�. Under this, furniture, teaching learning material, teachers� handbook, students� workbook, etc., would be provided to make the learning process more interesting for young children. It�s a huge quantum of work, and would be covered in phases,� added Chakravarthy.