Early Scope

DNA Exclusive: In a first, government schools to also serve as pre-schools for kids

In a first of a kind pan-India initiative, government schools will also act as pre-schools. The central government is attaching anganwadi centres to primary schools across the country, where children can be enrolled in formal school and then begin their education in the same system. This scheme will benefit children in both rural and urban areas where anganwadis are located.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Women and Child Development have issued a joint circular, asking all states and union territories to merge over 13.5 lakh anganwadi centres across the country with primary schools.

"The basic idea behind this is to increase enrollment in schools and make sure that children who enter anganwadis have a smooth transition to schools. It is the outcome of brainstorming by a group of secretaries from various ministries working on education related issues," a senior official in HRD Ministry said.

The government has approved 14 lakh anganwadi centres across the country, out of which 13.53 lakh centres are operational as of now. The ministries have asked these centres to explore the possibility of attaching themselves with schools. "We request you to examine the possibility of shifting the Anganwadi centres to the campus of nearby primary schools located in the habitation of the anganwadi centre's catchment to facilitate the transition of children to the primary stage and ensure universal enrollment," stated the joint letter issued by both ministries on July 20, a copy of which is with DNA.

"The location of the Anganwadi centres within the premises will also facilitate child preparedness for going to school and help in increasing the efficacy of both the schemes," it added.

The ministries have also asked these centres to examine the status of the Anganwadi centres vis-a-vis the infrastructure available in primary schools. They have also cautioned the states to make sure that the distance between anganwadi centres and schools is not very far for all the schemes to work.

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