Policy for the holistic development of children up to six years on the anvil: Aruna Chaudhary
Chandigarh, January 20: Punjab Social Security, Women and Child Development Minister Aruna Chaudhary today announced that the Punjab State Early Childhood Care and Education Policy to ensure the holistic and integrated development of children up to 6 years of age will be formulated soon. To achieve this target, the cabinet minister sought suggestions and recommendations of the members of State Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Council up till February 1. She also announced that the social security department would endeavor to implement the policy in the state this year after approval of the cabinet.
Presiding over the State Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Council’s maiden meeting here at Punjab Bhawan, the Cabinet Minister said that all government and non-government play-way schools of the state will be regulated to ensure safety and inclusive development of the children under the new policy. “The syllabus of play schools and Anganwaris would be set in such a manner as to ensure consistent development of the child”, she said, adding that besides imparting training to the children on communication skills, the emphasis will be laid on teaching English apart from the mother tongue Punjabi. The policy will set minimum educational qualification of professional teachers for play-way schools. Criteria and standards of play materials for children, places in schools, furniture, learning materials, literature, buildings and facilities in the premises and training for teachers will be laid down.
Mrs. Chaudhary said that the purpose of this policy is to bring all the government and non-government play way schools under the dedicated act. Looking forward for suggestions and recommendations from the concerned departments, she added that people of the state would also be asked for suggestions on the department’s website www.sswcd.punjab.gov.in for framing the policy keeping in view the Punjab perspective. She categorically said that policy would be disabled friendly. There will also be focus on ensuring nutritious food for the intellectual and physical development of the children.
“Emphasis to be laid on moral education instead of traditional education, so that the children could be able to address social issues as well as issues like; environmental protection and water conservation”, she said. Similarly, girls will be apprised about bad and good touch” said the minister, adding that the state council will take into account the recommendations of the National Early Childhood Care and Education Council, while devising the policy.
She said that domains of development such as sensory and perceptual development, physical and motor development, language development for developing listening skills, expressive and receptive communication skills and developing vocabulary, verbal and non-verbal communication skills, sentences, prewriting skills etc., cognitive development, creative and aesthetic appreciation development and personal, social and emotional development for developing interpersonal skills with respect to family, teachers, peers, habit formation, cooperation, compassion, group interaction, express feelings, accepting others’ feelings, ability to adapt and control emotions, are to be covered under the ECCE Curriculum.
Minister said that policy would focus on the key areas such as access with equity and inclusion in programs and interventions across service providers, improving quality, strengthening capacity, monitoring and supervision, research and documentation, advocacy and awareness generation, convergence and coordination between policies and programs, institutional and implementation arrangements, Partnerships and periodic review.
Mrs. Chaudhary asked the education department officials to play an active role as education department is already dealing with the policies related to the children. She asked the official of the Punjab Agricultural University to submit their study on Anganwaris to the Social Security Department so that it could also be taken into consideration.
Mrs. Raji P. Srivastava, Principal Secretary, Social Security, Women and Child Development, Mrs. Gurpreet Kaur Sapra, Director, Department of Social Security, Women and Child Development, Mr. D.P.S. Kharbanda, Director, Rural Development and Panchayat Department, Mrs. Surinder Kaur Waraich, Additional Secretary, Finance, Dr. Avneet Kaur, Director, Health Services, Mr. Sukhjit Pal Singh, DPI (Secondary), Dr. Sandeep Bains, Dean, College of Community Science, PAU, Ludhiana, Dr. Deepika, Professor and Head of Human Development and Family Studies Department, PAU, Ludhiana and Dr. Sunil Bahl, Evaluation Officer, SCERT Punjab were present in the meeting.