The Maharashtra state government has introduced an innovative curriculum framework for the foundational level of education, which covers three years of pre-primary education and includes classes 1 and 2, catering to children aged three to eight years. This new framework places significant importance on utilizing a child's mother tongue as the primary medium of instruction during early education. It aligns with the National Curriculum Framework for the Foundational Stage (NCF-FS) and is referred to as the State Curriculum Framework for the Foundational Stage (SCF-FS).
The revamped curriculum underscores interactive activities and discovery-based learning, aiming to equip children with effective reading and writing skills by the time they reach class 3. The core objective is to foster a holistic learning experience that goes beyond conventional rote learning. However, it has raised concerns regarding the use of multiple languages and the necessity for a more independent and flexible curriculum structure.
One notable aspect of the framework is the strong emphasis on student nutrition and health, recognizing the vital role that physical well-being plays in a child's ability to learn effectively.
While the SCF-FS model advocates for the use of a child's mother tongue or native language as the primary medium of instruction, it also encourages the gradual introduction of other languages, such as English, alongside the mother tongue in teaching and learning activities. This approach aims to create a smooth transition for students into multilingual contexts while preserving the importance of the mother tongue.
A special committee has been formed to oversee the implementation of this program, focusing on the foundational level, which encompasses three years of Anganwadi (kindergarten) and classes 1 and 2. The SCF-FS promotes a developmentally appropriate and child-centered approach to education, focusing not only on fundamental language and numeracy skills but also on children's physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development.
Despite the innovative nature of the program, concerns have been raised about the curriculum's lack of autonomy in accommodating the specific needs and demands of the SCF-FS. The draft of the framework has been made public to solicit input from stakeholders before final approval.