UP Anganwadi Workers Oppose Decision to Turn Centres into Pre-Primary Schools
Representational Image. Image Courtesy: National Herald
Lucknow: Anganwadi workers have opposed the Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to convert centres at schools under the Basic Shiksha Parishad to pre-primary schools.
UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath said that children under three would be admitted to pre-primary schools and later class one in regular schools.
Under the new system, to be implemented in the next academic session, children at pre-primary schools will be provided nutritional food at Anganwadi centres.
“The Central and state governments have long tried to abolish the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). Besides, the funds allocated for the scheme are reduced in every Budget,” All India Federation of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers (AIFAWH) secretary Veena Gupta told Newsclick.
“Union minister Smriti Irani says Anganwadis are functional only for an hour. But everyone knows that Anganwadi centres play an important role in removing malnutrition in the weakest sections of society,” she added.
During the pandemic, Adityanath has praised Anganwadi and ASHAs for their contribution to controlling the virus's spread in UP.
Now, the “government wants to close Anganwadis”, Gupta alleged. “Children in the three-to-six age group first come to Anganwadis, where their health is monitored, malnutrition is tracked, nutritious food is served to pregnant and lactating women and vaccines are administered. But the government will send them directly to pre-primary schools, where they will be deprived of these facilities.”
Emphasising the “plight” of Anganwadi workers, the union leader said, “Hot fresh food is served to children at Anganwadis despite the Food Security Act and the Supreme Court’s order. Anganwadi workers are paid less than MGNREGA workers,” Gupta alleged.
“Officials are misguiding Anganwadi workers that they will be appointed government teachers after the centres are turned into pre-primary schools,” Gupta further alleged.
AIFAWH, associated with the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), has been campaigning against “attempts to abolish ICDS”, and will launch a statewide signature campaign against the UP government’s decision to strengthen Anganwadis by communicating with the general public.
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