"How are my students supposed to learn anything when they are hungry?" : Different approaches to curricula and teaching in preschools of varied socio economic capital in Mumbai, India.
This paper is based on a study conducted in Mumbai, India, regarding how early education is organized in the absence of a national curriculum for the pre-primary education and how the quality of the teaching seems to be affected. The purpose was to learn what actors in education believe is important for child development and how that differs in schools with different socio-economical capital. To gain this knowledge, qualitative interviews with teachers and principals were conducted to outline what they find important in their schools, what they wish to develop and change and how they assess their work. The respondents are working in schools very different from each other and the answers were accordingly.
Conclusions are that in schools with students of favorable socio economical situation, a progressive approach including play and a child-centered teaching was used in contrast to schools of low socio-economical standard where a traditional take on education was in place, making students school ready through focusing on reading and writing skills. Spirituality, religion and manners were brought to the researchers’ attention as important aspects in education for the respondents, which mirror the cultural environment of India. The decentralized school system and the lack of a legislated national curriculum do not benefit disadvantaged children. An expansion of high-quality Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in India is suggested as well a progressive approach to teaching with play incorporated.
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