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International Journal of Early Childhood

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 65–83 | Cite as

Early childhood development policy and programming in India: Critical issues and directions for paradigm change

  • Adarsh Sharma
  • Rekha Sharma SenEmail author
  • Renu Gulati
Articles

Summary

The critical importance of the early childhood years and the rights perspective to human development has made policy and programming for early childhood development an imperative for every nation. In India, poverty, changing economic and social structures resulting in the breakdown of traditional coping mechanisms and family care systems, and the disparity between the rich and the poor place a large number of children ‘at risk’. Early childhood interventions become a pre-requisite in such contexts to mitigate the effects of deprivation and disadvantage and improve life chances, particularly of children from underprivileged and marginalized environments. The present paper uses documentary analysis and literature review to trace the evolution of early childhood development policy and programming in India, describes changing perspectives in planning and, after a critical analyses of the situation of children and programming for children in the country, discusses paradigm shifts that need to be made as the way forward to ensure the well-being of the young child in India. In keeping with international developments, the approach towards planning strategies related to Early Childhood Development (ECD) in India has, over the years, evolved fromWelfare toDevelopment toRights. The Constitution of India and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) have been the guideposts for planning but achieving synergy across varied sectors catering to different facets of the child’s development has remained elusive. This is reflected in the poor mortality, morbidity and education indicators with respect to the young child. A major reason for this stems from the ambivalent status of ECD in India-while national documents recognize it as the foundation for all other initiatives, these are not backed by resource allocation and political will to provide quality ECD for all. The country’s planning processes need to make paradigm shifts in child development strategies and policies to lead to re-designing of interventions.

Keywords

Early Childhood Development Policy India 

Résumé

A cause de l’importance critique des années de la petite enfance et la perspective des droits sur le développement de l’homme, les politiques et les programmes visant au développement du jeune enfant ont devenu un impératif pour touts les pays. En Inde, la pauvreté et des structures économiques et sociales changeantes ont provoqué la décomposition des mécanismes traditionnels d’adaptation et les systèmes de soins de la famille, et la disparité entre les riches et les pauvres place un grand nombre d’enfants «à risque». Faire des interventions sur la petite enfance devient un pré-requis dans telles circonstances pour atténuer les effets des privations et désavantages et améliorer les chances de vie, en particulier des enfants des milieux défavorisés et marginalisés.

Ce document utilise des analyses documentaires et des révisions de la littérature pour retracer l’évolution des politiques et programmes pour le développement du jeune enfant en Inde, décrit l’évolution des perspectives changeantes dans la planification et, après une analyse critique de la situation des enfants et les programmes pour les enfants dans le pays, il examine les changements de paradigme qui doivent être faites comme la voie à suivre pour assurer le bien-être des jeunes enfants en Inde. En accord avec les développements internationaux, l’approche vers des stratégies de planification liées à l’ECE en Inde ont évolué, au cours des années, de l’aide sociale au développement des droits. La Constitution de l’Inde et I UNCRC (Charte des Nations Unis pour les droits de l’enfant) ont guidé la planification, mais la réalisation des synergies dans des secteurs différents qui surveillent des aspects divers du développement de l’enfant est restée presque inaccessible. Cela se reflète dans des taux de mortalité, morbidité et des indicateurs de l’éducation mauvais en ce qui concerne le jeune enfant. Une raison improtante vient du statut ambivalent de l’ECE en Inde-tandis que les documents nationaux reconnaissent l’éducation des petits enfants comme un fondement pour toutes les autres initiatives, ce ne sont pas soutenus par l’allocation des ressources et la volonté politique d’une ECE de qualité pour tous. Le processus de planification du pays demande le changement des paradigmes sur les stratégies et politiques pour le développement de l’enfant visant à redessiner les interventions.

Resumen

La importancia crítica de los años de la niñez temprana y de las perspectivas correctas del desarrollo humano han hecho la política y la programación para el desarrollo de niñez temprana un imperativo para cada nación. En la India, la pobreza, el cambio de las estructuras económicas y sociales han resultado en un deterioro de los mecanismos tradicionales de cuidado familiar y las diferencias entre los ricos y pobres han dado lugar a una gran cantidad de intervenciones de la niñez temprana ‘en riesgo’ y la educación infantil se ha convertido en un requisito en tales contextos para atenuar los efectos de la privación y para mejorar las condiciones de vida, particularmente de niños de ambientes desvalidos y marginados. El documento utiliza la revisión documental y el análisis de literatura para reconstruir la evolución de la política y de la programación de desarrollo de la niñez temprana en la India. Describe el cambio de perspectivas en el planeamiento y, después de los análisis críticos de la situación de niños y de la programación para los niños en el pais, discute los cambios del paradigma que necesitan ser hechos como la manera adecuada para asegurar el bienestar del niño y la niña pequeños en la India. En congrunecia con progresos internacionales, el acercamiento hacia las estrategias del planeamiento relacionadas con la Educación preescolar en la India, durante los últimos años, se ha evoluicionado desde el puro bienestar físico, al desarrollo pleno de los derechos de la infancia. La constitución de la India y los UNCRC han sido las guías fundamentales para el planeamiento, pero la realización de sinergia a través de los sectores que abastecían a las facetas variadas del desarrollo de la infancia ha seguido siendo evasiva. Esto se refleja en los indicadores pobres de la mortalidad, de la morbosidad y de la educación con respecto al niño pequeño. Una razón principal para esto proviene el estado ambivalente de la Educación Preescolar en la India-mientras que los documentos nacionales la reconocen como la fundación para el resto de las iniciativas educacionales, éstas ideas no son apoyadas por la asignación de recursos ni por la voluntad política de proporcionar Educación Preescolar de calidad para todos. Los procesos de la planificación nacional necesitan hacer cambios del paradigma en estrategias de desarrollo y políticas del niño para llevar a un rediseño y a un éxito a las intervenciones.

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Copyright information

© Springer 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Academy for Educational DevelopmentWashington D.CUSA
  2. 2.School of Continuing EducationIndira Gandhi National Open UniversityNew DelhiIndia
  3. 3.University of DelhiNew DelhiIndia

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