Pre-schools brought under ambit of Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) policy

Pune: Pre-schools for children till six years of age are being regulated from March 1 by the state government under the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) policy.

The policy was formulated by the state education and women and child development departments. A government notification was issued last week about implementing this policy with immediate effect.

All schools and day-care centres, including anganwadis, privately operated, and those run by the non-governmental organisations in the state will have to follow this policy.

The government will also lay down the role of local bodies in the registration of ECCE centres, their regulation, inspections, accreditation and action to be taken in case of complaints or violations.

A portal will be developed for registration, accreditation, tracking, monitoring and evaluation modules of all these pre-schools.

The Maharashtra ECCE Policy 2018 is drafted on the lines of the national ECCE policy 2013. Secretary of the state women and child development department Vinita Singal said the policy provided inclusive, equitable, universal, joyful and contextualized opportunities for maximum survival and optimal growth and development.

“There was need to bring in an early childhood care and education across the state for appropriate reforms, measures and corrective actions. A state ECCE council has been established which will be the apex body to guide and oversee the implementation of the policy,” Singal added.

The centres should have some mandatory provisions, including daily hours of operation, as decided by the local body, non-discrimination in admissions based on religion, caste, sex and disability, developmentally appropriate toys and learning materials, building should be safe and clean.

Meena Mundada, founder of The Freedom Park that runs a chain of a parent-toddler programme in centres across Maharashtra, said, “ The policy will ensure that the right people do the right job for the kids.”

Founder-director of Shyamchi Aai Foundation, Sheetal Bapat, said the policy will give importance to the development of a child on cognitive and psycho-social levels.

All ECCE centres will be deemed accredited for the initial one year, after which all centres will be accredited by the local bodies on the online portal for two years. A fresh online application for renewal may be made before the expiry.

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Key points about the notified change :

Its Focus

  • Online registration and accreditation of all ECCE centres
  • These include private and non-governmental sectors
  • Government-run anganwadi centres will come under rules prescribed by the WCD ministry & government policies
  • These centres will be given sufficient time to conform the set of standards stipulated in this policy
  • Access in programmes and interventions across service providers
  • Training and certification of teachers and support staff
  • Online MIS of all children attending ECCE centres on a centralized online portal
  • Once enrolled, the management of the centre will upload the Aadhaar details of the child on ECCE

Quality Standards Framework

  • Daily hours of operations of an ECCE centre may be decided by the local bodies depending on the local needs
  • Non discrimination in admission based on religion, caste, sex and disability
  • Staff that is adequetly trained / certified for handling ECCE centres
  • All ECCE teachers must obtain the certificate in this time-frame
  • Age & developmentally appropriate, child centric approach in the mother tongue / local language / Hindi / English
  • Adequate developmentally appropriate toys and learning material

Safety First

  • Building should be structurally safe and within easy approach
  • It should be clean and should have surrounding green area in rural areas
  • There should be no corporal punishment, physical or mental abuse of children failing which, the centre will be liable to be de-registered or de-recognized
  • Children should not be left unattended at any point of time
  • Adequate and seperate child-friendly toilets and hand wash facilities for girls and boys
  • Parents must be contacted in case of mishaps
  • Contact numbers of emergency services
  • Maximum ECCE staff of pupils ratio should be 1:25

Note : News shared for public awareness with reference from the information provided at online news portals.