A model struggling to deliver
The National Education Policy, 2020 has rightly highlighted the importance of early childhood care and education (ECCE), vital for the young child’s early cognitive, social, and emotional development. However, the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) finds only 13.6 per cent of children enrolled in pre-primary schools. Therefore, the nearly 1.4 million anganwadis of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) across India must provide ECCE for the millions of young children in low-income households.
Work of Anganwadi Centres
- Under ICDS Scheme-AWCs fall under the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) Scheme. The existing system at best serves the age group of 3-6 years, ignoring infants and toddlers.
- Low cost primary education -AWCs are expectedto provide preschool education through lowcost, locally sourced material that caters to the socio-cultural context of mothers, and children below six years.
- Basic health care -A typical Anganwadi center provides basic health care in a village. Basic health care activities include contraceptive counseling and supply, nutrition education and supplementation, as well as pre-school activities.