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The First Five Years: A Critical Perspective on Early Childhood Care and Education in India

Mina Swaminathan (Editor)
Synopsis "Ever since Independence, successive Indian governments have made some attempts to provide Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) to children below six years of age. A variety of schemes and institution have been developed towards this end. Parallel and equally widespread have been the interventions of the 'private' sector in the field. Yet, both the understanding and particularly the practice of ECCE remain woefully inadequate. This pioneering volume brings together macro and micro perspectives on the subject from distinguished specialists in the field and highlights some significant innovations in the last two decades. Mina Swaminathan points out in the her introduction that while the government's efforts at providing ECCE were informed by comprehensive and holistic aims, the institutions that were set up often degenerated into mere feeding centres. The private sector, on the other hand, entered the field in a fairly big way but only to promote the downward extension of formal education in its narrowest and most oppressive sense. As a consequence, the crucial area of early childhood care and education remains largely neglected event today. Between these two sectors--the government and the private--exists another small but significant sector, that of voluntary organisations. Part I of the book presents analytical accounts of eight such innovative grass-roots programmes. The concluding essay in this section draws lessons from these experiences, particularly from the point of view of replication. Part II outlines the broader picture. The contributors explore a variety of issues including the historical framework and evolution of ECCE in India; training of concerned personnel, especially teachers; the complex interface between the intersecting needs of women and children; the vital area of costs and benefits; and the philosophical and cultural context of ECCE. The final easy explores the challenges and the issues confronting ECCE in India. Overall, this important volume deals with a crucial but largely neglected area of vital concern to the nation's development in an up-to-date and refreshing manner. The unusual combination of case-studies and macro perspectives will make this book essential reading for all those involved with child development, education, women's issues, and development in its broadest sense."
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Bibliographic information

Title The First Five Years: A Critical Perspective on Early Childhood Care and Education in India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1998
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8170367344
length 314p., Illustrations; 23cm