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Full Report- The India Early Childhood Education Impact Study

Full Report- The India Early Childhood Education Impact Study

If we could take a snapshot of all four-year-olds in India at, say, 11 a.m. across the entire country, where would we find them and what would they be doing? Given that these are very young children, there are only a few likely options. They could be at home,with parents and siblings, perhaps with other family members.

They could be in a government preschool facility known as an Anganwadi (“courtyard centre”), spending a few hours with other young children from their neighbourhood in a relatively unstructured environment. Or they could be in a formal early childhood education facility that offers a structured educational curriculum intended to help young children prepare for primary school. But the fact is that we really don’t know the answer to this question. Nor do we have answers for other questions that follow this one, such as – which children fall into each of these categories? What kinds of inputs and support do they get in each case?

How does this experience influence their social, cognitive, and emotional outcomes as they grow  older? What factors generate the best outcomes? The reason these questions matter is because international research over the past half century demonstrates conclusively that early childhood   a critical period, in fact the single most important period in human development. The environment, inputs and support that children receive in their first eight years will have an enormous impact on the rest f their lives – not only in terms of their performance  in school, but on a wide range of other outcomes that extend far beyond school.

Investments in high quality  interventions for young children are therefore thought to be cost effective ways of improving outcomes both for individual children, especially in the case of vulnerable or disadvantaged children, and for society as a whole. In recent years India has made significant progress with respect to strengthening the policy framework for early childhood. The Government of India released the National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy in 2013, and subsequently a National Curriculum Framework and Quality Standards.

The IECEI Study is a longitudinal study that followed a cohort of 14,000 four-yearolds from age 4 to age 8 in rural areas of three states of India: Assam, Rajasthan and Telangana. The first of its kind in India for its scale and its longitudinal, mixed methods design, the study documented children’s institutional participation; assessed their school readiness levels and subsequent early grade learning outcomes; observed their classrooms; and collected information from their homes and preschools/schools.

It also made a comprehensive assessment of the quality of preschool programmes and identified specific programme characteristics that are associated with positive developmental outcomes for children. This policy brief summarizes major findings and recommendations from the study.

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