New Delhi: Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Monday launched a play-based learning material for children in the age group of three to eight years called “Jaadui Pitara”, and announced it will be made mandatory in at least 1,200 central government-run schools from the upcoming academic session.
“It is an innovative, child-centric learning pedagogy that will prepare young children for the life-long journey of learning and fulfill one of the most vital recommendations of the new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020,” Pradhan said.
In line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, the government launched a national curriculum framework (NCF) for foundation or early childhood care in October last year, recommending no textbooks for children between three and six years of age. It also emphasized promoting learning based on toys, play and lived experience, and the use of the mother tongue.
Accordingly, the ministry launched play-based material for children enrolled in Balvatika — comprising classes nursery, lower kindergarten (LKG), and upper kindergarten (UKG).
“While there won’t be any book for Balvatika 1 (nursery) and 2 (LKG), there will be a playbook introduced to students in Balvatika 3 (UKG),” Pradhan said. “Textbooks will only be introduced in classes 1 and 2 and they will also be illustrative in nature.”
The NCERT will release textbooks for classes 1 and 2 by the end of this month, he added.
The ‘Jaadui Pitara’ (magic collection) contains playbooks, activity books, worksheets, toys, handbooks for teachers and trainers, flashcards, story cards, posters, puzzles, puppets, and children’s magazines.
“It is a giant leap towards enriching the learning-teaching environment and making it more child-centric, lively, and joyful for the ‘Amrit Generation’ as envisioned in the NEP 2020,” Pradhan said. “It has been named Jaadui Pitara (Magic Collection) as it has the magic of variety, flexibility, and inclusion,” he said.
The play-based teaching learning material emphasizes the development of children in five domains— physical development, socio-emotional and ethical development, cognitive development, language and literacy development, and aesthetic and cultural development, the ministry said in a statement.
While the learning material is already available in 13 Indian languages, the minister urged the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to translate the materials in the ‘Jaadui Pitara’ into all Indian languages and endeavor to expand its reach as well as make it available to all the State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) as “benchmark” for transforming early childhood care and education scenario of our country.
Pradhan requested the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to start implementing the new teaching-learning material in its affiliated schools. He also insisted that the NCERT also encourages the young generation startups to keep on upgrading the teaching-learning material.
The NCF will have four stages – foundation or early childhood care, and education for preparatory, middle, and secondary levels, and a centrally constituted national steering committee has been working on developing these frameworks. While the framework of foundation learning has already been launched, the committee is yet to release the frameworks of three other stages.
Pradhan also commented on the recent cases of suicides by students. “There is nothing as unfortunate and worrisome for a civilized society as a student succumbing to pressure… that pressure builds up over the years…,” the minister said. “If a student considers education as a medium of empowerment then he or she won’t get scared. The present education system burdens our younger generation…Therefore, it is very important to remove that fear from the hearts of students. The new NCF promotes play-based and story-based learning.”