Due to the ‘Badi Bata’ campaign launched by the Education Department to increase enrolment of students in government schools, and the promise of providing English-medium education from nursery onwards, the Anganwadi centres in various parts of the district have their sheen with low enrolment of students.
Against the norm of 20 students in each Anganwadi centre, the current enrolment has come down from five to 10 students in each centre.
About 25 per cent of Anganwadi centres have reported enrolment of below three students.
In the rural areas, a majority of parents have admitted their children into government primary schools following the promise made by the teachers to provide English-medium education. In the urban areas, parents enrolled their wards into private English-medium schools.
In Karimnagar district, there are a total of 3,718 Anganwadi centres, including 145 mini-Anganwadis. During the last academic year, the students’ enrolment was more than 60,000.
But this year, it has come down to 48,500-odd students, and has consistently been going down. Following the non-availability of students, speculations were rife that Anganwadi centres would be closed, complained Anganwadi teachers and maids.
ICDS project director in-charge M. Radha told The Hindu that they were taking measures to increase the enrolment by launching the second phase of the Badi Bata programme from July 1 to 7 by involving local public representatives and officials.
She said that they were also planning to provide special training programme for Anganwadi teachers to provide English-medium education by teaching nursery rhymes, etc.
She hoped that the students would come back to the centres as there was no mid-day meal scheme for the children enrolled in the nursery sections of government primary schools.
On the other hand, the State government is also seriously considering operation of Anganwadi centres on the primary school premises from the next academic year to provide English-medium education as well as serve mid-day meals to retain the students in government schools, sources said.