DEVELOPMENT OF VALUES THROUGH PRACTICE
Early five years of children’s life play a vital role in the shaping of their personalities. This is the age when the child must be taught about moral, social and national values. The child must be offered autonomy, freedom of creativity, curiosity, sense of responsibility, respect and decision making power. Instead of teaching values in books, by practice they work better and students can learn in a better way.
Finland is in top achievers in world educational ranking. Children in Finland start schooling at the age of seven years. Before that, they get the pre-primary education where they “learn how to learn”. They learn values i.e. sense of responsibility, discipline, decision making, sharing and tolerance. Children are practicing these values. For example, at the age of six and seven, they serve their school lunch by themselves. They are free to do according to their interest.
In Japan, students are given specific goals which they achieve within a given period of time. Like cleaning their classrooms, serving their school lunch, placing utensils on their right place after lunch. And then, under teachers’ supervision, they check themselves whether they accomplished their goals or not. Students visit vegetable farms on regular basis to know about their importance in human lives.
As compare to other countries when we take a look at our pre-primary education or early childhood education, we came to know that our government has taken a significant initiative to improve ECE. Recognizing the importance of early childhood education, it was prioritized in National Education Policy 2009. In 1998-2010 education policy, the pre-primary class was introduced as the formal class in primary school. The 2013-17 Punjab Education Sector Plan proposed the setting up of quality early childhood education all over the province. The reforms in 2016-2021 Punjab Education Sector Project (PESP-III) have also prioritized the access and quality improvement in ECE provision in Punjab. There are 7.4 million children ages 3-5 in Punjab but only 37% are attending preschool. The Government of Punjab aimed to reach the cumulative target of 10000 ECE rooms in 2018, but the half target is achieved till now.
As compare to public sector schools, pre-primary education is being an essential part of primary education in private sector schools. Apart from all steps taken by our government, a question arises that is our future generation building in a way that it should be? Are the students of public sector schools more creative and confident as compare to the students of private sector schools? According to me, there is a lack of implementation of educational policies which are made by our governments. So there is a need to work hard on the implementation of the policies. Though in Punjab ECE Policy 2017, a detailed sample of the daily schedule is given that how a teacher of ECE room can manage his/her timetable. Individual and group activities have given importance in policy. Students will learn about prayers, games, creativity, the etiquette of eating food, cleanliness, sharing and cooperating with each other. These values will only be effective when the class teacher is able to practice all these activities.
According to the World Bank’s analysis, there is:
1) Lack of parental and community awareness and engagement
2) Weak institutional capacity and implementation arrangements
3) Lack of financial resources
4) Most importantly, school level constraints such as overcrowding and multi-grade teaching due to lack of space and shortage of adequately trained teachers.
There is a need to appoint separate teachers for ECE classes, to build separate ECE classrooms in every public sector schools. Outdoor activities are also be prioritized for learning like exploring nature, visiting vegetable farms etc.