The government has notified the national ‘Early Childhood Care and Education’ (ECCE) policy which aims to achieve holistic development of children below six years of age, the Lok Sabha was informed Wednesday.
Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi made the statement while replying to a query about the Centre’s reaction to a 2013-14 UNICEF Rapid Survey on Children (RSOC) that indicated 34 per cent and 25.6 per cent of Muslim and Christian children (below six years) respectively do not attend pre-school.
“The government has reaffirmed its commitment to promote early childhood care and education by formulating and notifying National Early Childhood Care and Education policy,” the Minister of State for Minority Affairs (Independent Charge) said.
“The vision of the national ECCE policy is to achieve holistic development and active learning capacity of all children below 6 years of age by promoting free, universal, inclusive, equitable, joyful and contexualised opportunities for laying foundation and attaining full potential,” he said.
The ECCE is one of the six free services provided through Anganwadi centres located across the country under the Integrated Child Development Service (ICDS) scheme of Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The ICDS is a universal self-selecting scheme available to all the beneficiaries who enroll at the Anganwadi centres irrespective of caste and religion, Naqvi said.
The ICDS scheme is has been universalised to cover 14 lakh habitations and about 3.50 crore children (aged between three and six years) are attending pre-school education at 13.50 lakh Anganwadi centres as on March 31, 2016.
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