Admit children at age three in all government schools as in all private schools of India
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Almost all private schools in India admit students from age three years onwards in kindergartens, but the government schools where about 62% children of the country receive education can be admitted only after attaining the age of six. Children of three to six years not in private schools are directed to attend the absolutely ill equipped Aganwari centres run under the ICDS of the Ministry of Women and Child Development where a part time person provides pre-primary education and supplementary nutrition. This approach delays development of the cognitive abilities of more than five crore children of the country at any point of time three years behind from the privileged ones attending private schools.
This petition is to urge the Prime Minister of India to build a nation with strong talent pool by starting pre-primary sections in all the government schools of the country and admit children at age three rather than sending them to Aganwari centres. The advantages of this shift are:
1. The children would receive better nutrition as the quality and quantity of food given under the mid-day meal scheme in schools is much better than the refreshment and the so called cooked meal served in Aganwaris
2. Early childhood education can be imparted much better in the environment of a school where trained instructors are posted.
3. It would be easier to ensure presence of children between 3 to 6 years at school than in aganwaris as they can accompany their elder siblings and the parents have to bother less.
4. The closing/merging of schools happening because of insufficient number of students would stop as more students of the age group of 3 to 6 years will be available.
The Aganwari centres after this change can cater fully to the much needed 6 months to three years old age group, pregnant and lactating women to promote Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF). This cohort otherwise neglected at the moment requires the highest attention both for the health and nutrition needs as the first 1000 days beginning from conception to two years after birth determine the physical and cognitive development of any child. Aganwaris could be converted into crèches as most working mothers require them.
Please sign this petition to urge the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to shift 3 to 6 years children to regular government schools for their pre-primary education, health and nutrition needs and strengthen ICDS solely for health and nutrition of children of 6 months to three years, pregnant and lactating women.
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