Are Schools “Ready for Children”? Assumptions and Ground Realities
The concept of “ready schools” implies that schools recognize and engage with the characteristics and needs of the children they aim to educate. But as school systems grow in size and reach populations with little or no prior experience of schooling, the notion that schools should aim to understand, communicate with, and respond to individual children and their families seems to be moving further and further out of reach. This chapter uses data from the India Early Childhood Education Impact (IECEI) Study and the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) to examine two basic assumptions about how the school system is structured, not only in India but around the world and the extent to which these are valid in the Indian context. The first assumption is that children in a given grade are roughly the same age, and the second is that children in a given grade are at roughly the same learning level. Based on this evidence, the chapter concludes that schools in India are far from “ready” to help children learn.
KeywordsReady schools Early childhood education Transition to school Early years
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