Anganwadis losing out to private schools

‘Anganwadi' centres, which ought to provide pre-school education to children in slums, are today losing several of them to private schools. Lacking even in basic infrastructure needed for any pre-school, these centres have become the last resort for poor parents.

Wrought with space crunch and absence of facilities like toilets or playgrounds, several parents across slums in Hyderabad, urban and semi-rural pockets of Ranga Reddy, notwithstanding their poverty, are sending their children to private schools.

“With private schools mushrooming in every street, parents want to send their children to these schools as they provide better facilities and also teach English,” said an ‘anganwadi' worker in Secunderabad, who did not wish to be named.

Pre-School Education to children from three to six years of age in slums is the ‘backbone' of the State's Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS). However, faulty policy and mismanagement are ensuring these very children are keeping away from its services.

With a mere Rs. 750 allotted towards rent for each centre in Hyderabad, finding space to accommodate all children from three to six years of a slum in ‘angnwadis' is impossible, teachers said.

Situation is no better in Ranga Reddy where rent allotted for each centre is just Rs.200. Children in rural areas like Tandur go to ‘anganwadis' due to dearth of private schools. But, in semi-urban and urban areas several parents send their children to private schools, workers said.

Moreover, with Anganwadi teachers also being deputed to conduct numerous surveys, like those for ration cards etc, they allege that are unable to focus on pre-school education.

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