Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development

Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development

Development of India-specific tools to assess quality of ECE at a center-level and a child-level

The Opportunity

As the ECE segment in India gradually matures and begins to place greater emphasis on quality, there is a definite need for reliable easy-to-use assessment tools. Broadly, tools of two types are needed – centre-level and child-level. Centre-level tools provide a comprehensive indicator of the quality of the ECE delivery channel, taking into account infrastructure, staff, pedagogy, curriculum etc. An ideal tool should serve as a standardised measure of quality across government, private as well as not-for-profit sectors equally. Measuring desired student outcomes is essential to gauge effectiveness of any ECE programme. Child-level ECE tools should capture outcomes along multiple domains of child development – physical, socio-emotional, cognitive, pre-literacy, pre-numeracy etc. It is obvious that both centre-level and child-level tools would need to be adapted to local contexts and environments. Currently, there are no widely used /accepted tools which have been contextualised for India.

The Project

Centre for Early Childhood Education and Development (CECED) is a Centre housed in Ambedkar University, Delhi, with a mandate to address issues of quality and inclusion in policies and provisions for the young child. CECED has been carrying out various research projects, including a longitudinal research across three states on impact of early childhood care and education (ECCE). While working on these research projects, CECED determined that there was a lack of culturally relevant assessment tools at the child and centre-level for ECE and proceeded to develop some in-house. These tools have been created for specific research purposes and are not standardised for use by the wider ecosystem. In this context, CECED aims to establish and develop an assessment unit, which will work on standardisation of the existing tools developed by the Centre, and development of new tools as required, in the field of early childhood education and development. CSF and CECED propose to collaborate on setting up the assessment unit by taking up a bouquet of assessment tools for validating / testing/ norming over a three year period.

Potential for Systemic Impact

The ECCE quality standards framework is likely to be implemented in the next couple of years, and therefore we expect a demand from the system for reliable assessment tools. The framework envisages a Registration -> Accreditation -> Evaluation process for all pre-schools in the country. With this in mind, the project aims to test usability of these tools among government functionaries/other practitioners as part of the standardisation process. Other project outcomes aiming at systemic impact include developing training material to ensure appropriate and efficient use of the tools, and formulating and implementing a strategy for dissemination/ increased adoption of these tools.