In a bid to improve enrolments in government schools, the state government is upgrading 9,000 anganwadi centres or pre-schools on pilot basis. These 9,000 aganwadis are distributed in 33 blocks with one block each in every district. The Integrated Child Development Services, which is a part of women and child development department, Rajasthan, is upgrading these anganwadis by providing toy kits, stationery and workbooks for children.
The overhaul came after the state received poor response in anganwadis. In 2014-15, Rajasthan had 61,000 anganwadis with enrolment of 1 lakh students in the age group of 3 to 6 years. In fact, the state is has ranked second lowest in the country in terms of enrolment of children in pre-primary or anganwadis in the age group of 3 to 6 years with 26.5% students, mostly from lower income groups enrolled in 2014-15. The national average is 54.8%.
"There is gross under-utilization of resources and the goal of preparing students for schools also is unfinished. A strong anganwadi will ensure that its students are ready for school education. The drop-out rate of these students is negligible as compared to those who take admission in schools directly," said a member of the panel, who has framed the rule book.
It is also being done to increase the number of enrollments in the government schools which are fast losing out to private schools. The state has employed a force of 62,000 anganwadi workers to ensure that not a single child in the age group of 3 to 6 is devoid of pre-primary schooling. Each anganwadi has to cover 40 children.
Besides, elementary education, the anganwadis are also responsible for providing nutritious food for growth along with monitoring, tracking the children who are malnourished and giving proper health check-ups, immunization, distributing vitamins-A and feeding programmes. Besides, training programmes for workers have also been designed as they are class X and XII pass out with no training on pre-primary.