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India Country Profiles


In India, the term ECCE is generally used to reference coverage of care and education services for children between 0-6 years. There is a wide ranging of service providers,
including public, private, NGOs, crèches for working mothers, and pre‐primary schools (3‐6 years).

ECCE was initially recognized in India within the 1986 National Education Policy. In 2013, the approved National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy reinforces the
Government’s commitment to integrated ECCE for the holistic development of
children with a focus on care and learning. The nationally-sponsored and
Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) program strives to enhance children’s school readiness and holistic development. 

Despite national attention placed on ECCE, many children still lack access to preschools. Issues such as stunting, high under-5 mortality rates, and low birth weight continue to
persist in India even though progress has been made through the ICDS program on
maternal and child health.

[i] National
Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development. (2006).
Select issues
concerning ECCE in India
(pp.24) (Paper commissioned for the EFA Global
Monitoring Report 2007, Strong foundations: early childhood care and


[ii] UNICEF India. What we do: Early
childhood education
(Accessed April 26, 2016).  


[iii] Rao and Sun.
childhood care and education in the Asia Pacific region: Moving towards goal 1

(pp. 33). (Paper commissioned for the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in
Asia and the Pacific’s World Conference on Early Childhood Care and Education
(WCECCE) in Moscow 2010).


  Lack of
universal ECCE access for children between conception and six years of age.

in integrating quality ECCE services targeting the two age segments: (i)
under-three and (ii) pre-primary children between 3 and 6 years of age.
Limited policy regulations and financing on ECCE
provisions by the Government.


 · Provide comprehensive ECCE services between
conception to age six for children’s holistic development.

· Universal inclusive ECCE access to include
vulnerable children.

· Capacity building of human resources to improve

· Develop and enforce quality standards and
curriculum framework.

· Increase awareness on the importance of ECCE by
partnering with communities and families.
Promote diversity and
culturally-appropriate strategies within a decentralized framework.

Ministries in Charge

Ministry of Women and Child Development in collaboration with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Human Resource Development, and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. 

Key Policies


Noteworthy Practices

 1. Sajag caregiver
program to support under-three children
(Implemented by UNICEF) 

· Noteworthy
Partnerships to integrate services across sectors of health, nutrition, and
psychosocial development. Materials developed are contextualized and
culturally-sensitive. Organic and evolutionary approach in refining
implementation to cater to the needs of families and communities.

· Achievements: Scale-up of
program to the state level, including dissemination of advocacy messages to
enable caregivers/parents to support young children’s holistic development. Also,
capacity developed for 70,000 health workers via training on psychosocial


2. Childcare services
for migrant children in informal settings

(Implemented by Mobile Crèches or MC) 

· Noteworthy
Three models to ensure delivery of integrated services on health, nutrition,
early learning, and care for children living in construction sites and slums,
through: i) daycare provisions; ii) advocacy to build demand for childcare; and
iii) caregiver trainings for parents and childcare providers.

· Achievements: A
cost-effective scalable childcare model for children in marginalized
communities with 100 network partners, 200 builders partnered, 6,500 women
trained, 650 daycare centers, and 7,50,000 children reached.


3. Caregivers' empowerment to benefit orphaned
and vulnerable children
(Implemented by Hands to Heart

· Noteworthy
Support caregivers by reinforcing good practices, such as bonding and
attachment, to encourage children’s holistic development. Develop capacities of
other organizations to reach the communities.

· Achievements: 9 countries
reached with 43,570 caregivers trained to impact over 157,000 children (as of
Dec 2015).


4. Galli Galli Sim Sim: Use of media to
improve children’s development
(Implemented by Sesame
Workshop India)

· Noteworthy
Engaging educational content through media, such as television, radio, print,
and digital outreach to reach children aged 0-8, to promote cultural diversity,
academic, and life skills.

· Achievements: Television
series has reached over 10 million children since its inception in 2006.

News from India


rights of children are interrelated and independent and each one of them is
equally important and fundamental to the well-being and dignity of the child.
The application of child rights requires a multi-dimensional, integrated and
inclusive approach for the overall and harmonious development and protection of
children.” –
Krishna Tirath
, Minister, Ministry of Women and Child Development. 


- Madam Krishna Tirath
Minister, Ministry of Women and Child Development.
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