There is need to evolve an early childhood care and education (ECCE) policy that promotes optimal development and active learning capacity of children under six years, Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath said here Tuesday.

Emphasising that ECCE provisions would be governed by a strong quality framework, the minister said: “The policy seeks to universalise the provisions of ECCE for all children through Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), which has a network in all nooks and corners of the country.”

The minister was speaking to reporters late Monday after discussions with child experts, policy makers, government officials and representatives from non-government sector on the draft national ECCE policy.

The major planks of the draft national policy are universal access, equity and quality and strengthening capacity building.

“Special plans will be developed for the most marginalised and vulnerable groups besides repositioning of anganwadi centres (AWC) as vibrant child-friendly centres with adequate infrastructure, financial and human resources,” she said.

The deliberations emphasised on creation of an enabling environment for involving private sector, strengthening of institutional capacity building and fine-tuning the assessment, accreditation and grievance redressal mechanism.

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