As part of its work on sustainable livelihoods, DEAL Foundation seeks to roll-out early intervention services for low income families of children with special needs unable to provide the early intervention special needs support on a full-time basis while they struggle to protect livelihoods

In the September edition of the newsletter my colleague Agnes featured a blog on the topic ’Foundation Years Matter’. You can find the link here:

We have been working on exploring approaches to operationalize this.

In a unique collaboration of its  kind, Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Network, Karnataka State Rural Development & PanchayatRaj University, DEAL Foundation and respective departments from the Gadag Zilla Panchayat (District Administration) have come together to launch the ‘Inclusive Education Training Pilot & Early Intervention Center Services’.

The aim of the pilot is to examine the implications of disability studies curriculum on Anganwadi Teachers, their practice and professional development. And inform models of support for children with special needs and their carers.

As part of the pilot the Diploma in Inclusive Pre-School Education will be rolled-out across 51 Anganwadi Centers in the Hobli of Dambla.

The proposed pilot will help field test and strengthen the programme in the following areas:

1. Curricular content

2. Methodology suggested

3. Materials developed

4. Evaluation system proposed

The programme is planned on many best practices in the area of ECC. The proposed curriculum is innovative from four dimensions:

  • It adopts a dual mode of using online learning resources such as virtual classroom lectures, digital library of resources, Multimedia, Frequently asked questions with answers, easy to read manuals, WhatsApp group, Facebook pages, student blogs .
  • The skill development for students is carefully planned in face to face sessions under supervision closer to the community with support from faculty available online.
  • It makes a special provision for Anganwadi workers to do the program via a lateral entry to the second semester after completion of a bridge course for 6 weeks.
  • The course curriculum is blended for a smooth transfer of credits when the trained teachers pursue a 4 year Bed in future.

 The programme is planned on many best practices in the area of ECCD and is based on guidelines in the documents developed by UNESCO, NCTE, NCERT, WCD ministry, NGOs, RCI, World bank documents on inclusive education.

In India for the first time since independence in 1947, Early Childhood Care and Education is seen as integral part of education system in the New education policy of 2020.We quote” To prepare an initial cadre of high-quality ECCE teachers in Anganwadi’s current Anganwadi workers/teachers will be trained through a systematic effort in accordance with the curricular/pedagogical framework developed by NCERT. Anganwadi workers/teachers with qualifications of 10+2 and above shall be given a 6-month certificate programme in ECCE; and those with lower educational qualifications shall be given a one-year diploma programme covering early literacy, numeracy, and other relevant aspects of ECCE.

  • Necessary facilities will also be created for the initial professional preparation of these educators and their Continuous Professional Development (CPD).
  • The proposed training pilot is based on competency based credit framework based on UGC-NSQF 2013 norms for each course and units for smooth transfer to higher education and for establishing equivalence.

The pilot will help:

  • Raise awareness of development delays and need for early intervention for children with special needs;
  • Develop skills and competencies of staff involved in pre-school education;
  • Identify children with special needs and develop inclusive learning, play and development   strategies;
  • Develop appropriate services including referrals, therapeutic clinical and community based services;
  • Develop transition pathways and support.

 It is anticipated that the pilot will be launched during the period 2021 and the findings from it will help address achieve multiple objectives in terms of:

  • Addressing human resource development needs;
  • Putting in place a inclusive policy framework for joined-up delivery;
  • Ensuring every child is supported and enabled to achieve his or her development potential;
  • Enhancing life chances and opportunities for children with special needs;
  • Reducing the burden of disability in families with children with special needs;
  • Protecting family livelihoods;
  • Building inclusive and sustainable communities.

Should you require any further information on the pilot, we would love to hear from you. Please mail us on: info@deal-foundation.com

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