Primary and Secondary Education – RTE, Education Policy, SEQI, RMSA, Committee Reports, etc.

Early Childhood Care and Education through Anganwadis


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Anganwadi scheme

Mains level: Nutrition support in early childhood

Central Idea: The Centre is planning to promote ‘Early Childhood Care and Education’ through anganwadi centres as part of the ‘Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi’ slogan announced by the Women and Child Development Minister.

What is Anganwadi scheme?

  • The scheme was started in 1975 and aims at the holistic development of children and empowerment of mother.
  • It is a Centrally-Sponsored scheme. The scheme primarily runs through the Anganwadi centre.
  • The scheme is under the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

Moto: Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi

  • The focus will be on both nutrition and early learning for children under 6 years, with a particular emphasis on those under 3 years.
  • Early learning has been neglected in the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and seen as secondary to nutrition.
  • Anganwadi centres will be repositioned as pre-schools to provide early learning access to socially and educationally backward communities.

Why such move?

  • Two emerging trends are noted: young children shifting to private pre-schools and under-age children being admitted to Class 1 in some states.
  • The quality of services provided at Anganwadi centres is perceived as inferior, leading to the shift to private nursery schools.

Task Force and Recommendations

  • Rebranding anganwadis: The task force recommends a “mission-mode approach” to rebranding anganwadis, including infrastructure upgrades, materials, play equipment, etc.
  • Focus on volunteer support: It suggests involving panchayat raj institutions, women’s self-help groups, local NGOs, and college volunteers to enhance the learning environment.
  • Boost to Anganwadi sisters: The task force proposes re-designating anganwadi workers as anganwadi teachers and helpers as childcare workers.
  • Nutrition boost: Infrastructure improvements, additional nutrition supplements (such as eggs and milk), extended timings, creches, and day care services are recommended.
  • MGNREGS liasion: The task force suggests leveraging funds from the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Major target: Improve Child Nutrition

  • The task force highlights that over 35% of young children in India are stunted, according to the latest NFHS data.
  • Although there has been a reduction, India still has the largest population of stunted children globally.
  • Child stunting affects developmental outcomes and the ability to learn at school.
  • NFHS-5 reveals that only 11.3% of children below 2 years receive an adequate diet.
  • The task force recommends introducing eggs as an effective intervention for nutrition.


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