THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 03 August 2020 (Parents, the first and natural tutors (The Hindu))

Parents, the first and natural tutors (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2:National 
Prelims level: National Education Policy
Mains level: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education


  • The National Education Policy (NEP) emphatically makes the case for early childhood care and education (ECCE). 
  • It says, “Schools providing quality ECCE reapthe greatest dividends for children who come from families that are economically disadvantaged.” 
  • Over 85% of a child’s cumulative brain development occurs before the age of six. 
  • Yet, over 5 crore children are estimated to not have attained foundational literacy and numeracy in India. 
  • At present, says the policy, children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds do not have access to ECCE.

Role of parents:

  • The NEP lays out a detailed paradigm for educators to provide high-quality ECCE through preschools and anganwadis. 
  • It also talks of how parents can be active stakeholders in their children’s education. 
  • Indeed, it is crucial that we dig deeper into how parents can help, as any learning in school can be reinforced or undone at home. 
  • Parents are their children’s first and natural tutors at that age. 
  • Involving them is necessary to ensure that children learn the foundational skills they need to succeed in school.
  • But how can low-income parents, with constraints on their time and energy, start getting more involved in ECCE? 
  • Through our work with low-income communities and youth, we believe the answer is through AIM (aspiration, information, and motivation and measurement).

 Building aspiration:

  • At present, 30% of low-income parents don’t send their children to any ECCE institutions. 
  • Instead, many opt to send their children to primary school too early, when they are still cognitively and emotionally unprepared for Class 1 studies. 
  • These are often the children who get left behind in primary school and beyond, with limited scope for recovery. 
  • Evidence suggests that low-income parents do value education from primary school onwards, spending a disproportionate amount of their monthly income on it. 
  • However, awareness of the importance of education at the preschool age is missing. 
  • Indeed, while high-income parents face a huge amount of social pressure to help their children achieve developmental milestones before the age of six, low-income parents lack such social incentives. 
  • Building aspiration through role modeling, mass media and social media involving examples of celebrities and influencers is the crucial first step.

 Providing information:

  • Once awareness and aspiration have been built, we must provide low-income parents with educational tools to support their children that they can themselves confidently administer. 
  • Preschool-aged children usually have an attention span of 5-15 minutes, which is not enough to focus on learning materials themselves, so parental involvement is necessary. 
  • Fortunately, all parents are usually equipped to understand the foundational skills that their children are learning at this age as 70% of mothers and even more fathers are educated up to Class 5 themselves. 
  • We need to assist them in combing through the vast wealth of print and online content. 
  • Information must be simplified and contextualised — creation, curation, and dissemination of content that is in their local language, relevant to their context, and relatively convenient to administer is essential.


  • Nudge is a concept in behavioral economics, political theory, and behavioral sciences which proposes positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions as ways to influence the behavior and decision making of groups or individuals.

Measuring progress:

  • The last essential piece of the puzzle for sustained engagement from parents is to motivate them on a regular basis and give them measurable indicators of progress and change. 
  • Behavioural research on nudges, social incentives, and the power of creating habits demonstrates some possible ways to provide continuous feedback and encouragement. 
  • Measurement also acts as a powerful motivation mechanism. 
  • The child’s progress and growth can be measured through rigorousassessments and through visual learning journeys. 
  • Sharing results with parents, and developing plans in partnership with them, can ensure that truly no child is left behind.

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Prelims Questions:

Q.1)With reference to the International Day of Friendship, consider the following statements: 
1. The International Day of Friendship is being celebrated on July 30, 2020.
2. The International Day of Friendship was proclaimed in 2011 by the UN General Assembly with the idea that friendship between peoples, countries, cultures and individuals can inspire peace efforts and build bridges between communities.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: C

Mains Questions:
Q.1) Importance of early childhood care and education (ECCE)? How can parents more involved in early childhood care and education?