The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (MoWCD) recently launched the Centre’s flagship programme ‘Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi’, which will focus on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) at anganwadis across the country. ECCE is an important component of Mission Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 (Mission Poshan 2.0) and envisaged under the National Education Policy 2020.
Anganwadi Ecosystem in India –
- Considering global evidence that 85% of brain development is achieved by the age of 6 years, the Anganwadi eco-system becomes a critical access point for building the children’s base.
- Close to 9 lakh operational Anganwadi centres across the country are providing supplementary nutrition and early care and education to around 8 crore beneficiary children (under the age of 6 years). This makes it the largest public provisioning of such services in the world.
- MoWCD has allocated Rs 600 crore for the training of anganwadi workers to implement the ECCE. The National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) has been roped in for the training of Anganwadi workers.
Mission Saksham Anganwadi and Poshan 2.0 –
- It is an Integrated Nutrition Support Programme approved for implementation during the 15th Finance Commission period 2021-22 to 2025-26.
- It seeks to address the challenges of malnutrition in children, adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers through —
- A strategic shift in nutrition content and delivery and,
- Creation of a convergent eco-system to develop and promote practices that nurture health, wellness and immunity.
- The existing components (of the on-going nutrition programme) have been re-organised (to improve implementation) under Poshan 2.0 into the primary verticals given below —
- Nutrition Support through Supplementary Nutrition Programme (SNP) for children (06 months to 6 years), pregnant women and lactating mothers (PWLM); and for Adolescent Girls (14 to 18 years) in Aspirational Districts and North Eastern Region (NER);
- ECCE [3-6 years] and early stimulation for (0-3 years);
- Anganwadi Infrastructure including modern, upgraded Saksham Anganwadi; and
- Poshan Abhiyaan — Launched in 2018, its focus is to lay emphasis on nutritional status of adolescent girls, pregnant women, lactating mothers and children from 0-6 years age.
What is the Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi Programme?
- It is a pathbreaking ECCE program to ensure that India has the world’s largest, universal, high-quality pre-school network, as suggested by the NEP 2020.
- The aim is not only to make anganwadi centres nutrition hubs but also education-imparting centres – providing at least two hours of high-quality preschool instruction on a daily basis.
- Under this, the government will target children’s development in every domain mentioned in the National Curriculum Framework, viz., physical and motor development, cognitive development, socio-emotional-ethical development, etc.
- It will also ensure the use of developmentally appropriate pedagogies and emphasising the links with primary education as well as early childhood health and nutrition services.
- It will help build a Jan Andolan, to involve communities in strengthening the foundations of the country’s future generations.