Through our work among marginalised children for the last 20 years, we have found that a wide chasm exists between the opportunities available for marginalised children and their peers. We've come to understand that:
The family background of the children joining the primary school reflects in their capability to involve in the classroom activities and develop their potential. There is a huge difference among the children from different social backgrounds—especially between the mainstream and the marginalized communities. This affects the performance level of the marginalized children thereby widening the gap between children of different social strata. Hence imparting a quality preschool education is essential for enhancing their capability to develop later on.
In the existing curriculum, the stories, songs and the cultural contexts are those of mainstream society. The symbols, images and values that represent the cultural premises and life situations of marginalized sections like tribal communities are excluded. Even the language used in formal schooling is different from that used in their communities in terms of dialect and accent. This leads to the lack of interest in attending school, thereby resulting in higher dropout rate among these communities. Without addressing this cultural dissonance, these children will continue to play traunt.
Post-COVID, this gap in capability level has considerably widened due to the difference in digital exposure among the marginalized and mainstream communities. In Indian society, already marginalized communities are facing the adverse effects of the digital divide. This has worsened as post-COVID educational methods increasingly rely on digital means for education. Poor, discriminated, and stigmatized children are not able to acquire electronic devices essential for this.
In this context a clear action plan has to be formulated for ensuring quality preschool education to marginalized children.
Studies and research which will address the issues of marginalized children and increase their capability by invoking creative talents is highly essential in the field of preschool education. ANANNIA is planning to do creative and constructive interventions in this area. With our experience in overall personality development among marginalized children, we are planning to launch our new project Early Childhood Education Research and Intervention.
We are looking for research scholars with experience in innovative educational practices. This research intervention will be carried out in collaboration with Govt. educational agencies like DIET, SCERT and SSK. Once this model succeeds, it can be adapted on a broader scale for a long term curriculum redesign with a view of inclusive education. With research studies in the Indian context it is expected to be scalable across the country, with far-reaching social impact.