Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi Campaign
The ‘Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi’ initiative, launched by the Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani in September 2022, has the objective of converting the 14 lakh Anganwadi centres into pre-schools that offer early childhood care and education. Its primary aim is to provide early learning opportunities to children.
“Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi” Campaign – Characteristics
The targeted age range – The primary target age group for this initiative is children up to six years old, with special attention given to those under three years old.
The policy for education at the national level – The emphasis of the National Education Policy is on developing a robust foundation in literacy and numeracy skills, giving special importance to utilizing the child’s native language.
Recommendations put forth by the High-Level Task Force on Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) in 2022 –
- Renaming and upgrading Anganwadi centers with better facilities.
- Redefining the role of Anganwadi workers as teachers and helpers as childcare workers.
- Establishing crèche facilities for children aged below three.
- Creating a uniform curriculum across different models.
- Prioritizing education in the child’s native language.
About Early Childhood – Early childhood refers to the crucial period of development spanning from birth up to six years of age, which comprises specific stages and developmental requirements based on age.
About Anganwadi – Anganwadi centers are rural childcare facilities that act as a crucial link between the government and rural communities, catering specifically to expecting mothers, new mothers, and children under six years old. These centers provide primary healthcare, nutrition, and early childhood education services to women and children residing in their respective villages.
Early Childhood Care and Education(ECCE)
UNICEF defines early childhood as the period from conception to the age of eight. Early childhood care and education (ECCE) goes beyond preparing children for primary school and instead prioritises the holistic development of children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical requirements in order to lay a solid foundation for lifetime learning and well-being. SDG 4 Target 4.2 aims to ensure that by 2030, all girls and boys have access to high-quality early childhood development, care, and pre-primary education.
Early Childhood Care and Education(ECCE) – Significance
The period of early childhood is characterized by rapid growth and development, with the brain undergoing significant changes during this time. It is important to provide appropriate care and stimulation during this critical period as more than 85% of a child’s brain development occurs before the age of 6.
Access to high-quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) is essential for every child, as it aims to achieve optimal outcomes in various domains, including physical and motor development, cognitive development, socio-emotional-ethical development, cultural/artistic development, and communication, as well as early language, literacy, and numeracy.
ECCE also focuses on developing social skills such as teamwork, cooperation, courtesy, ethics, and personal and public cleanliness. The early years of a child’s life serve as a foundation for their learning and overall development, better preparing them for primary school and improving their educational outcomes.
Moreover, quality ECCE can reduce repetition and dropout rates, especially among vulnerable groups of children, and promote human resource development, gender equality, and social cohesion, while also reducing the costs associated with later remedial programs.
An overview of 56 studies conducted across 23 countries has demonstrated that ECCE has positive impacts on health, education, cognitive ability, and emotional development.
Early Childhood Care and Education(ECCE) – Challenges
The provision of quality ECCE faces several challenges, including a shortage of trained educators, which adversely affects the quality of education provided.
Rural childcare facilities, such as Anganwadis, lack adequate infrastructure and educational resources, leading to an uneven distribution of children across age groups.
Moreover, there is a lack of trained teachers who specialize in early childhood education in these centers.
In private pre-schools, the emphasis is often on formal teaching and rote memorization, with little focus on play-based learning.
According to a 2017 study by Ambedkar University, a significant proportion of children who completed pre-primary education in either public or private institutions lacked the necessary competencies to start primary school.
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“Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi” Campaign – FAQs
Q1: What is the “Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi” initiative?
Ans: The “Poshan Bhi, Padhai Bhi” initiative was started in September 2022 by Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani with the goal of turning the 14 lakh Anganwadi units into pre-schools that provide early childhood care and education.
Q2: What is the targeted age range for this initiative?
Ans: This initiative’s major target age group is children aged three to six, with special attention paid to those under three.
Q3: What is early childhood care and education (ECCE)?
Ans: Early childhood care and education (ECCE) goes beyond simply preparing children for primary school, instead emphasising the holistic development of children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and physical needs in order to create a solid basis for lifetime learning and well-being.