NCERT published a preschool curriculum in December 2019. That’s pretty strange. The reason being NCERT is a syllabus publishing organization. It has published the syllabus of Class I-XII. Its textbooks are considered a bedrock of India’s beloved entrance exams. CBSE’s board exams are based on NCERT textbooks. Then, why NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus, meaning textbooks?
I have gone through the NCERT preschool curriculum, a huge letdown for the children of India and also the NCERT syllabus of Class I. Basis these two documents, I feel there could be three reasons why NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus.
NCERT Does Not Factor Preschool For Class I syllabus
NCERT Class I syllabus was published in 2005 – when the world had not heard of Apple’s iPhone or WhatsApp/Instagram and there was no Amazon/Facebook in India. Yes, it is difficult to believe, but in 2021, the children of India study the same textbooks that the children studied in 2005. This actually makes NCERT class I textbooks a candidate to compete with dinosaurs.
The primordial nature of NCERT Class I textbook has consequences for the NCERT preschool syllabus. Let me explain in detail. When do kids learn alphabets A-Z and numbers 1-10 today? In preschools. At the age of 3-5 years. Rather, the private preschools can even go on to teach 4-5 letter words and numbers up to 500 to 3-5 year olds.
However, as per NCERT, the children are to be taught alphabets A-Z and numbers 1-10 in class I syllabus textbooks. Now, in that case, what to put in the preschool syllabus? NCERT can’t include the alphabets and the numbers. If it does, the class I syllabus needs to be changed. And if NCERT does change the class I syllabus, then it will have to change the class II syllabus too.
So, what’s the solution? Not publish a preschool syllabus, but a preschool curriculum – gibberish and perplexing document, which nobody can comprehend. This is the prime reason that NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus as the Class I syllabus does not factor in the preschool existence. To cover up that gaffe, NCERT screws up the preschool syllabus.
A meaningful preschool syllabus would mean that all the NCERT syllabus textbooks from I-XII will have to take in a cascading change. It is, of course, anyways due for a course correction. But, NCERT won’t engage in such a large-scale update. So, the preschool syllabus becomes the scapegoat.
Preschools Are A Law Unto Themselves
CBSE conducts board exams – X and XII. It gives affiliations to schools for their students to appear for the board exams. However, it does not get into the preschools’ affiliation. Ditto for State Boards – They too don’t get into preschools. India has numerous preschools dotting nooks and corners of each city/town, but no education board has them in their fold.
So, for all practical purposes, preschools function merrily on their own, independently, with no accountability to anyone – on what/how they treat and teach the kids. Preschools aren’t hung up about syllabus and all such rubbish. Why bother when there is nobody to ask? NCERT is very much aware of this situation.
Even in CBSE-affiliated private schools, how many of them actually follow NCERT textbooks? None. NCERT knows this, as well. A fellow Government organization working in the same domain, which has regulatory powers, can’t make private schools follow NCERT textbooks. What’s the probability that private playschools, whom nobody regulates, will follow the NCERT syllabus? Zilch. Absolute Zero.
So, what does NCERT do? Just publish a curriculum, go around the country claiming that it has successfully guided the preschools, and go back to slumber. Rather than having an egg on the face by preschools not following your textbooks, better not to waste the efforts. So, NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus.
The Curriculum Development Team
There are 25 subject experts on the curriculum development team – 16 professors and two of them are even retired professors. No doubt, all of them would be distinguished academicians but when in life would have they last dealt with 3-5 year olds directly, hands-on? What would be their memory of seeing kids in action, leave aside today’s kids?
What would you trust professors with? College education, not the preschool variety. But, NCERT does exactly the opposite and the results are for everyone to see. This team can’t comprehend the two generations gap, not even one, with today’s kids and comes up with a lofty document that has no valid reason to exist.
This seems to be the third reason that NCERT does not publish a preschool syllabus because the people NCERT employed can’t bend down to the level of 3-5 year olds, figuratively and literally.
The Self-Designed Syllabus
With the above state of affairs of indifferent NCERT and imperious private preschools, what should/can a parent do? Come up with one’s own preschool syllabus. Sounds exciting and challenging? It surely is.
Here is the preschool syllabus, sort of, that my wife and I came up with for our twin daughters.
PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.