Quality Early Childhood Care and Education in India:Initiatives, Practice, Challenges and Enablers

Chandra Reetu,Gulati Renu,Sharma Adarsh
page. 41~67 / 2021 Vol.15 No.3


Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) is globally recognized as a crucial element of educationfor all. Therefore, countries have intensely pursued it. After many efforts, progress towards ensuringECCE is apparent in many countries in the world. But most of them could not either completelyachieve this goal or compromised its quality due to inadequate resources, improper planning andineffective implementation strategies; especially a vast and populous country like India. A number ofinitiatives have been taken by the Government of India for bringing quality in the form of policies,plans, constitutional amendments, acts, development of quality standards and curriculum framework,schemes and flagship programs like Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS); District PrimaryEducation Programme (DPEP) and Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). In this endeavour, somewhereIndia has compromised with the non-negotiable quality standards for ECCE, leading the emergence ofexpected and unexpected issues and challenges. As a result, the country has missed the target ofensuring quality in ECCE. However, recent studies give evidence of tremendous progress towardsquality reforms. Of course, there are low achievements in some aspects and in some regions, but alsoimprovement in others which shows that ensuring quality is an attainable target. This paper intends todescribe initiatives of the Government of India, assess the ground realities, identify major challengesin quality reform in ECCE and suggest possible enablers to reach out the same.

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