Jaipur: Centre has extended its cooperation to state for giving a boost to early childhood education by developing classroom settings in state's 60,000 anganwadi centres benefitting 15 lakh under-6 students. Under Right to Education Act, there is no provision for under-5 children to get admission in government schools. Such children go to anganwadi centres, which are not more than just "feeding centres" where children are provided with nutritious food. But now, Centre has also approved that funds released by it for anganwadi centres can be spent on workbooks for studies by developing classroom settings.
It has given a special permission to the state for procuring age-appropriate workbooks and assessment cards for children from the funds issued for pre-school kit. "As per existing rules of the Centre, there is no provision of purchasing workbooks from the funds released for pre-school kit. From the funds, toys, pencils, colours, balls and other such items can be purchased but now on the request of the integrated child development schemes (ICDS) Rajasthan, the Centre has granted special permission for using the funds for purchasing workbooks," ICDS director Dr Samit Sharma said.
Dr Sharma said that it would help 15 lakh children belonging to 3-6 year age category coming to anganwadi centres in pre-school education. It is for the first time that the age-appropriate workbooks and assessment card will be used in anganwadi centres for encouraging pre-school education activities in anganwadi centres.
The Centre has approved funds to the tune of about Rs 17 crore, which will be utilised in anganwadi centres. "Approximately Rs 10 crore will be spent on workbooks. Each workbook will cost around Rs 50 while Rs 10 will be spent on assessment cards of each child," Dr Sharma said adding that the ICDS is aiming to develop anganwadi centres as learning centres for children.
The workbook has study material for different age group. "It is designed in such a way that it has different study material for 3-4 age group, 4-5 age group and 5-6 age group children. In the same manner, at the end of the session and quarterly, assessment of the children will be made depending on their age category," Dr Sharma said.
With the beginning of new academic session, the ICDS has launched classroom settings in anganwadi centres in 4,200 identified anganwadi centres on pilot basis from the current academic session. Children in uniform with I-cards, textbook-cum-workbook and toys to play portray a new picture of such anganwadi centres across the state. Now, it will be extended to all 60,000 anganwadi centres.