POSHAN BHI PADHAI BHI
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Context: The Ministry of Women and Child Development organised a national event on key initiatives for strengthening Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), which is an important component of Mission Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 (Mission Poshan 2.0) and is envisaged in the National Education Policy.
- As proposed by the National Education Policy, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched "Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi," an ECCE programme to ensure that India has the world's largest, universal, high-quality preschool network.
- "Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi" is a flagship programme launched by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to focus on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) at Anganwadis across the country.
- The programme aims to create the world's largest universal high-quality preschool network envisaged by the National Education Policy.
- To ensure the use of developmentally appropriate pedagogies and emphasize the links with primary education as well as early childhood health and nutrition services.
- To strengthen the Anganwadi centres with high-quality infrastructure, play equipment, and well-trained Anganwadi workers/teachers.
- Involve communities in strengthening the foundations of the country's future generations.
- The scheme is based on the National Education Policy 2020, which envisages universal, high-quality preschool education for all children in the age group of 3-6 years.
- It will provide two hours of daily preschool instruction in the mother tongue to children at anganwadis, using various teaching-learning materials and methods.
- It will focus on the holistic development of children, covering physical, cognitive, socio-emotional, cultural and linguistic aspects.
- It will train Anganwadi workers to implement ECCE with the help of the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD).
- It will involve communities and civil society organizations in creating awareness and mobilizing support for ECCE.
- The programme is significant because global evidence shows that 85% of brain development is achieved by the age of 6 years. Therefore, Anganwadis are important in imparting education and nutrition to children at this crucial stage.
- The programme will target the overall development of children such as physical and motor development, cognitive development, socio-emotional-ethical development, cultural/artistic development, and the development of communication and early language, literacy, and numeracy.
- The scheme faces several challenges in terms of quality, coverage, coordination and monitoring of ECCE.
- The quality of ECCE depends on the availability and capacity of trained Anganwadi workers, who are often overburdened with multiple tasks and responsibilities.
- The coverage of ECCE is limited by the number and accessibility of anganwadis, especially in remote and tribal areas. According to a report by NITI Aayog, only 13.9 lakh anganwadis are operational out of the sanctioned 14.8 lakh centres.
- The coordination of ECCE with other schemes and departments, such as health, nutrition, sanitation and education, is crucial for ensuring convergence and synergy of services for children.
- The monitoring of ECCE is hampered by the lack of a robust data collection and evaluation system, which can track the progress and outcomes of children.
Steps need to be taken
- The scheme needs to address the challenges mentioned above by adopting a multi-pronged approach that involves policy, planning, implementation and evaluation.
- The policy framework for ECCE needs to be strengthened by developing a national curriculum framework, standards and guidelines for ECCE, as well as a regulatory mechanism for quality assurance.
- The planning for ECCE needs to be decentralized and participatory, involving local governments, communities and stakeholders in identifying the needs and resources of ECCE.
- The implementation of ECCE needs to be supported by adequate funding, infrastructure, human resources and materials. The Anganwadi workers need to be empowered with regular training, incentives and recognition for their work.
- The evaluation of ECCE needs to be based on a comprehensive and reliable data system that can measure the inputs, processes and outcomes of ECCE. The data should be used for feedback, learning and improvement.
- POSHAN BHI PADHAI BHI is an ambitious and innovative programme that aims to transform the Anganwadi centres into centres of excellence for early childhood care and education. It will help India achieve its goals of universalizing preschool education, improving learning outcomes, reducing malnutrition, and enhancing human capital.
Must Read Articles:
National Curriculum Framework: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/national-curriculum-framework
New Education Policy: https://www.iasgyan.in/blogs/national-education-policy-2020-14
Q. What is the Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi initiative and what are its main features? How does it aim to address the problem of malnutrition and low learning outcomes among children in India? What are some of the challenges and opportunities for implementing this initiative effectively? How can the government and other stakeholders collaborate to ensure its sustainability and scalability?