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Govt launches anganwadi protocol to track, help children with disabilities

New Delhi, The government on Tuesday launched a national protocol to provide for training of anganwadi workers to track and help children with disabilities. This is for the first time that anganwadi workers will spread awareness on the issue, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said.

“If we look at it from a community perspective, it is a silent revolution in our community,” she said after the launch of the Anganwadi Protocol for Divyang Children.

For the first time, “sisters from anganwadis will spread awareness that disability is not a challenge for society, but an opportunity for society to help a child. The mindset needs to be changed,” Irani said.

She said that the National Education Policy-2020 emphasises prioritising integration of divyang students into mainstream schools.

“We know 85 per cent of a child’s mental development happens by the age of 6. Today our education system has new provisions for divyang children…,” she said. Irani said grassroots level data about divyang children will become available through anganwadi workers, and the children can be further tracked through the Poshan tracker.

The anganwadi eco-system reaches out to over eight crore children from birth to six years on a daily basis, and is a critical access point for building the base of the country’s children, according to a statement issued by the Women and Child Development Ministry.

According to the National Education Policy-2020, integration of divyang students into mainstream schools should be prioritized, rather than establish segregated educational institutions.

The National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage 2022 further recommends approaches to addressing developmental delays and disability in schools, including advice on signs and symptoms, it said.

In pursuance of these approaches, the Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi programme has adopted the national ECCE Taskforce recommendation for play-based and activity-based learning pedagogy and strongly advocates special and timely support for divyang children, the statement said.

According to the Draft National Policy for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) (2021), one-third of most disabilities in India are estimated to be preventable, if they are detected early enough and adequately addressed.

Through the ‘Poshan Bhi Padhai Bhi’s’ targeted focus on strengthening the foundation for India’s future generations, 13.9 lakh anganwadi centres will be up-skilled to adopt a multi-sensory and toy-based approach to address the different needs of children.

Nov 28,2023

Source: Economic Times