The government is training Anganwadi workers under its early childhood care (ECCE) and learning modules to transform the rural childcare centres across the country into education hubs for children aged 3 to 6, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said here on Wednesday.
She talked about the training program at the launch of ECCE modules called ‘Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi’, adding that her ministry constituted an ECCE Task Force, which submitted its report this year.
”Its recommendations included capacity-building through a 3-day in person training, follow up refresher training, fresh Teaching Learning Material (TLM), including activity books and toys, and a workshop on usage and creation of toys,” she said.
”Together with state-level planning and monitoring, it also calls for community involvement in a Jan Andolan through monthly ECCE days and other activities under Poshan 2.0,” Irani added.
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As defined by UNESCO, ECCE is the ”holistic development of a child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical needs in order to build a solid and broad foundation for lifelong learning and wellbeing.” She said ECCE material was dispatched in 2013 too, but no training was imparted to the Anganwadi workers then.
”Communities were also not involved and no parents were consulted. The error of the previous UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government is not repeated, that is why we are training every Anganwadi worker,” she said.
Irani said Rs 600 crores is proposed to be allocated for the entire training process.
She said audio-visual and learning materials have been tested in close to seven states.
”1.5 million parents participated in this effort to test the material, over 10,000 communities with over one lakh community driven projects and activities were undertaken. The ministry under the Office of the Secretary WCD also did conferences virtually and physically met state government representatives to ensure that the training programme that is to be prepared with regards to ‘Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi’ is not done in isolation by the government,” she said.
Irani said the aim is not just to make Anganwadi centres nutrition hubs but also education imparting centres.
For children with disabilities, Irani said she has made a special request that material especially for Divyang children be done in a collaborative attempt between the Ministry of Social Justice and ministries in states.
”So that anganwadi help workers not only help counsel parents so that their children can come to anganwadi but can also help create new methodologies of engaging with children who are divyang with regards to early childhood development,” she said.