India’s policy on early childhood education

Lessons for a gender-transformative early childhood in India

The Delhi government in India recently launched its preschool curriculum for the city’s 10,897 community-based preschool centers. The draft National Education Policy of India, made public in June 2019, dedicates its first chapter to the importance of early childhood care and education and the need to extend the right to education to every child who is three to six years old.

In this video, Samyukta Subramanian, 2019 Echidna Global Scholar, discusses how we must tackle gender inequality in India in the early years through engaging girls, boys, teachers, and parents. 

It is in this context that this paper urges the government to ensure that gender sensitivity is embedded in every initiative of early childhood education (ECE) in India from here onward. Based on interviews with mothers of preschool children in underresourced communities and with teachers as well as observations of government-supported preschool centers, this paper builds the current narrative of the preschool child’s ecosystem; notes the lack of gender-sensitive pedagogy in this space; and makes recommendations for what a gender-transformative approach in ECE in India should entail for men and boys, girls and women, so that India can strive for a more gender-equitable society in the years to come.