Daily Editorial Analysis for 23th August 2022

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Not centres of learning yet

GS Paper 2: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
Important For:
Mains exam: Reforming early education system
Importance of Anganwadi system
The Anganwadi system, part of the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) of the government serves over 30 million children in the age group of 3-6 in 1.3 million centres across the country.

The ICDS Scheme

• The ICDS scheme is designed to support all children under six with their health, nutrition, and education needs.
• If implemented rightly, this would make India a leader in the next 25 years in early childhood education and deliver our delayed demographic dividend.

Role of parents

• In ICDS reports, parents are routinely addressed as “beneficiaries” — passive recipients of ration, immunisation camps, and lately, education. But this is not how parents view themselves or their children.
• Education for them is a gateway to meeting their aspirations, and a pathway to social mobility so that their children can have opportunities they missed out on.
• Enrolment rates for primary school reaching over 90% are a direct consequence of the link in parents’ minds that education leads to opportunities for a better life.


• While across India over 70% of children are enrolled in Anganwadis, they are plagued by low attendance — parents simply do not perceive Anganwadi centres as centres of learning.
• The education ecosystem, including the early childhood care & education (ECCE)/ Anganwadi system, is not willing to speak parents’ language.
• Anganwadi systems, with the best of intentions, do not fulfil parents’ demands.
• Low attendance in Anganwadis is a tragedy for India’s children’s development.

What do the parents want?

• In surveys with parents of 3–6-year-old children, over 80% of parents consistently tell that their kids’ best pathway for social mobility through education is via learning English (speaking and writing) and math skills. This is what they look for when they enrol and send their children to a learning centre.

How to address the issue?

• The ECCE curricula must focus on local language-driven, and play-based pedagogy.
• It should be free and guided play-based, activity-based learning, facilitated by a skilled educator — without much thought given to how parents might perceive learning of this sort.

Is it really helpful?

• According to experts, the ideal preschool has a skilled facilitator who ensures that children spend most of their time in free and guided play. It includes exploring and manipulating their physical environments to develop early language, early numeracy, socio-emotional, executive function, and motor.
• Staffed by Anganwadi workers with roots in play-based pedagogy, attending the Anganwadi for the prescribed two hours a day helps children build critical skills by playing with inexpensive, locally made, indestructible toys in a group setting.
Issues with preschools
• Parents are sending their children to private preschools that are downward extensions of primary school.
• Here the 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old children sit in neat rows, practicing joyless, rote-based learning and memorisation of letters and numbers to the exclusion of all else.
• Over 7 million children in India attend these age-inappropriate private preschools that focus on rote learning from the earliest ages.

Way Forward

Ignoring parents’ expectation: To support the children best, we have to start by not patronising parents and ignoring their powerful, expressed needs for English language skills, writing, and maths. Lots of parents do not like play based pedagogy, they argue, “Your children should study and our should play.”
• Importance of the language spoken at home: Exposing children to the English language at an early age in an age appropriate, non-intimidating way — while recognising that the language spoken at home is the best way to reach fluency in any other language.
Supporting motor & writing skills: Giving children a pencil to scribble for a few minutes a day, of course without making them write letters and numbers endlessly, is a great way to support fine motor skills and later writing.
• Reducing fear of maths: Exhibiting the wonder of maths through fun activities like estimation, comparison, sorting, and seriation could help reduce the fear and paralysis of maths.
• Studies have shown that feeling like one is a part of the ‘maths community’ greatly aids reducing this fear, which changes numeracy outcomes later in life.

Reform education in Anganwadis:

o Anganwadi centres can follow regular daily schedules that balance time spent on self-directed free play and teacher-led activities focused on developing cognitive, literacy and numeracy skills.
o They can also conduct regular Shiksha Choupals (parent – teacher meetings) to showcase the learning happening in the Anganwadi to the parent community to bolster their trust in this institution.
o Additionally, regular messages can be shared with the parents to equip them on the nature of engagement expected from them to maintain the momentum of what is learnt at school.
• Changing mindset of parents: We have sufficient empirical evidence of mindset change from education’s own “School Chalen Hum” to the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan campaign, that we can change minds and behaviours with sustained action and mass campaigns.


As the nation celebrates the joyous occasion of India@75, the Prime Minister has iterated that the spirit of Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav is establishing ‘jan-bhagidari’ (participation of citizenry) for activating India 2.0. In the ECCE ecosystem, we need to embrace the power of ‘abhibhavaak-bhagidari’ (participation of parents) to activate Anganwadi 2.0.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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