Not Centres of Learning Yet

Not Centres of Learning Yet

For Mains:

About Anganwadi system

  • The Anganwadi system is a part of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) which serves over 30 million children in the age group of 3-6 in 1.3 million centres across the country.
  • The ICDS scheme is designed to support all children under six with their health, nutrition, and education needs.

Why did the Anganwadi system not succeed?

  • While across India over 70% of children are enrolled in Anganwadis, they are plagued by low attendance.
  • In surveys that we have conducted repeatedly with rural and urban parents of 3-6 year old children, over 80% of parents believe that their kids’ best pathway for social mobility through education is via learning English (speaking and writing) and math skills.
  • The Early Childhood Care & Education (ECCE)/ Anganwadi system curricula for different States instead focus on local language-driven, and play-based teaching as recommended by leading educators in India for the 3-6 age group.
Why are Anganwadis needed?
  • According to experts, the ideal preschool has a skilled facilitator who ensures that children spend most of their time in free and guided play.
  • It includes exploring and manipulating their physical environments to develop early language, early numeracy, socio-emotional, executive function, and motor skills — at a rate of neuronal activity that they will never get back once they get older.
  • Staffed by Anganwadi workers with roots in play-based pedagogy, attending the Anganwadi for the prescribed two hours a day helps children build critical skills by playing with inexpensive, locally made, indestructible toys in a group setting.
  • Over 7 million children in India attend these age-inappropriate private preschools that focus on rote learning from the earliest ages.

What can be done?

  • The system must be adapted to meet parents’ demands at least to a certain extent to have any chance of impact at scale in the short term.
  • This can be achieved by exposing children to the English language at an early age in an age appropriate, non-intimidating way while accepting that the language spoken at home is the best way to reach fluency in any other language.
  • Giving children a pencil to scribble for a few minutes a day, of course without making them write letters and numbers endlessly, is a great way to support fine motor skills and later writing.
  • Studies have shown that feeling like one is a part of the ‘maths community’ greatly aids reducing this fear, which changes numeracy outcomes later in life.
  • Anganwadi centres can follow regular daily schedules that balance time spent on self-directed free play and teacher-led activities focused on developing cognitive, literacy and numeracy skills.
  • Additionally, regular messages can be shared with the parents to equip them on the nature of engagement expected from them to maintain the momentum of what is learnt at school.
  • A mass campaign for awareness of age appropriate ECCE that brings parents in as stakeholders can help alleviate many misconceptions about the Anganwadi system.


Source The Hindu

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