Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Desperately Crying To Be Heard In The Budget

As India celebrates yet another budget, a small section of this country, small maybe but very important, has been left out once again. After all how many people can a government please? The budget is well defined and has allocated enough to all concerned, maybe we in the early childhood community are not vocal enough about our needs or advocate enough to the government about the support that we require.

An all India appeal to all the ministers, members of parliament and all in the government - we  appeal to you to support more initiatives for early childhood education as they are the future- the future voters, the future citizens and the future youth.  

Through the little ones you connect with the parents, as ‘pester power’ works. This was proved when we used pester power this election and asked all our little babies to check for the ‘black dot’ on their parents fingers. They not only checked it on their parent’s fingers but they went a step ahead and harassed the life out of every adult they came across to get that black dot!  The adults that voted this year are adults that grew up in quality early childhood programs and are now functioning as effective citizens.  Without the kind of start we helped them obtain, they might not have cared who got elected.    

Early childhood education deserves its rightful place of respect in the community both in the country and city and your support to this initiative will help us bring about awareness both about the teaching profession and the right respect among parents and future teachers.

The budget must provide not only for nutrition - the ICDS scheme of the government has got some barely two or three percent more than last year and that also will only cover the nutrition needs of the children, then what about the other needs? The early years are the most important, we need to sanction money for parent education, teacher education, teacher training, setting up crèches for all strata of working women, educating women about pregnancy and parenting. What about all this?

We want what the American President gave America; we want this for India and early childhood education in India. As new president, Barack Obama said in his first address to the nation: “It will be the goal of this administration to ensure that every child has access to a complete and competitive education from the day they are born to the day they begin a career. Already, we have made an historic investment in education through the economic recovery plan. We have dramatically expanded early childhood education and will continue to improve its quality, because we know that the most formative learning comes in those first years of life.”

In our culture when a family shares its resources among the family members, first they think about the children and allocate resources for them. But the budget tends to ignore this very cultural practise; let’s have a budget that will allocate more funds to the future of this country.

I would like to end by quoting brilliant educator Ivan Welton Fitzwater. When asked, this well known icon had said, “I am a teacher! What I do and say are being absorbed by young minds who will echo these images across the ages. My lessons will be immortal, affecting people yet unborn, people I will never see or know. The future of the world is in my classroom today, a future with the potential for good or bad. The pliable minds of tomorrow's leaders will be molded either artistically or grotesquely by what I do.

Several future presidents are learning from me today; so are the great writers of the next decades, and so are all the so-called ordinary people who will make the decisions in a democracy. I must never forget these same young people could be the thieves or murderers of the future.

Only a teacher? Thank God I have a calling to the greatest profession of all! I must be vigilant every day lest I lose one fragile opportunity to improve tomorrow.”

So by allocating more in the budget for the early years the government will just be doing its bit for future members of parliament and ministers. Think about it.

 Friends, let’s think of ways to involve our policy makers more in early childhood education initiatives: Any ideas?


Indu Chanda said...

Thank you ma'am for this food for our thought. I fully agree with you and this is what I feel about it.
The punch lines of branded fairness creams promising for flawless complexion, of branded shampoos for promising all problems one solution and many more punch lines to tempt us......list is endless. But the punchline of a health drink stating "Bachchon ke 90-98% brain ka vikaas 6 saal ki umar tak ho jata hai", is something to think about. Whether the drink is that effective or not I cannot vouch for it but I do understand that the meaning of that line is true. So feel the power in the hands of the early childhood educators. What we have in our control is unimaginable, but do the people who finalize the budget know that? The need is also to make THEM(THE GOVERNMENT) aware of this fact. An initiative needs to be taken by all the people connected to early childhood who will make the needs and importance of early childhood audible to the representatives of government who make the budget. For achieving this goal a platform is required which which can connect all the people related to early childhood pan India and what can be better than ECA- Early Childhood Association. We also need to over rule all the Early childhood teacher's training courses which are just namesake and the trainees get a certificate without even knowing what it is about. Hence courses like ECCED should be made available pan India as well so that the teacher who go for teaching the tiny tots realize the importance of their jobs and deliver it effectively and correctly. I am proud to be connected to ECA & ECCED. Lets spread it across to be HEARD IN THE BUDGET

sunita Duggal said...

Thank you very much for such a wonderful thought,we all think about this but never try to speak it out,Early childhood educator community is a very large in our country,If we all join together and spread as well said by Ms.Indu to be heard in the budget.

jayshree shah said...

Mam greetings &thanks for making us aware that knowingly or unknowingly as an adult we never thought of this issue as mentioned in your article every individual are worried about other things. Mam I am really proud to be a member of your team & ECA.Mam now your message will spread like fire in every educator mind.