Early Childhood Care and Education:
The N.P.E. states that high priority will be given on Early Childhood Care and Education (E.C.C.E.). It views E.C.C.E. as an important input in the strategy of human resource development as a free and support programme for primary education and as a support service for working women of the disadvantaged sections of society.
It has also taken into account the holistic nature of E.C.C.E. and has pointed out the need for organising programmes for the all-round development of the child. The significance of play and activity approach and the need for child- centeredness in the programmes of E.C.C.E. as well as in primary school education has been spelt out, and it cautions has been spelt out, and it cautions against the dangers of using formal methods of teaching and early introduction of the 3 R’s.
The importance of community involvement has also been highlighted. The need to establish a linkage between I.C.D.S. and E.C.C.S
Provision of free and compulsory education to all the children until they complete the age of 14 years is a Directive Principle of the constitution. Determined efforts have been made since independence towards the achievement of this goal.
N.P.E. gives an unqualified priority to universalisation of elementary education (U.E.E.). The thrust in elementary education emphasises (i) universal enrolment and universal retention of children upto 14 years of age, and (ii) a substantial improvement in the quality of education. The child-centred approach commended in N.P.E. attempts to build the academic programme and school activities around the child.
Provision will be made of essential facilities in primary schools, including at least two reasonably large rooms that are usable in all whether, and the necessary toys, blackboards, maps, charts, and other learning material. At least two teachers, one of whom a woman should work in every school, the number increasing as early as possible to one teacher per class. A phased drive, symbolically called operation black board will be undertaken with immediate effect to improve primary schools all over the country.