The Punjab government has assured that no Anganwadi Centre in the state would be closed following the introduction of pre-primary classes in Primary Schools.The assurance followed a meeting by Anganwadi Workers with Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary as well as Gurdaspur MP and Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar in Deena Nagar. The Anaganwadi workers, who earlier met Chaudhary alone, expressed apprehensions that the Centres would be shut down and their services ended following the start of pre-primary classes in primary schools.An official spokesperson denied any such move and said there no Anganwadi Centre would be closed.The spokesperson clarified that ideally, all Anganwadi Centres should operate from the primary schools and children enrolled in these Centres should also be enrolled for pre-primary classes. In line with this, the Departments of School Education and Social Security should endeavour to gradually shift all Anganwadi Centres to primary schools to enable the Anganwadi workers to continue with child care and nutrition support activities and allow the teachers to impart education.
Unfortunately, in the current framework, the Anganwadi workers and teachers were unable to focus on their core functions, thus affecting the quality and standards of both. The move to introduce pre-primary classes in Primary Schools was aimed at ensuring that these functions could be facilitated in the manner they should be, said the spokesperson.The spokesperson further said that in cases where it is difficult to shift the Anganwadi Centres to the concerned schools, efforts should be made to build accommodation for Anganwadi Centres in the schools gradually, and till such time it is achieved, the teachers should visit the Anganwadi Centres to impart pre-primary education.The government has decided that the pre-primary education, to begin with, should be restricted to one hour a day and it should be through play-way methods, the curriculum for pre-primary classes may be designed jointly by the Departments of Education and Social Security.The Departments of Education and Social Security may issue joint instructions in keeping with the above, said the spokesperson.