CHANDIGARH: Anganwadi workers in Punjab called off their statewide agitation on Sunday following Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's intervention and the government's assurance that no Anganwadi Centre would be shut down following the introduction of pre-primary classes in primary schools.
A spokesperson of the Chief Minister's Office said on Sunday that the Anganwadi Association decided to call of their stir following the resolution of their long pending demands with the initiative of the Chief Minister.
"On the directives of the Chief Minister, the School Education and Social Security and Women and Child Development Departments jointly worked out a set of guidelines for smooth functioning of the centres on the premises of primary schools," the spokesperson said.
The Anganwadi workers were opposing the recent introduction of pre-primary classes introduced in government schools in Punjab. They felt that the new initiative of the government in starting pre-primary classes would affect their working.
Earlier, after a meeting by Anganwadi Workers with Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary and Gurdaspur MP and Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar at Dinanagar, the government came out with a categorical assurance that no Anganwadi Centre would be closed down due to the start of pre-primary classes.
The spokesperson clarified that ideally, all Anganwadi Centres should operate from the primary schools and children enrolled in these centres should also be enrolled for pre-primary classes. In line with this, the Departments of School Education and Social Security should endeavour to gradually shift all Anganwadi Centres to primary schools to enable the Anganwadi workers to continue with child care and nutrition support activities and allow the teachers to impart education, the spokesperson added.
"Unfortunately, in the current framework, the Anganwadi workers and teachers were unable to focus on their core functions, thus affecting the quality and standards of both. The move to introduce pre-primary classes in Primary Schools was aimed at ensuring that these functions could be facilitated in the manner they should be," said the spokesperson, adding that in cases where it is difficult to shift the Anganwadi Centres to the schools, efforts should be made to build accommodation for Anganwadi Centres in the schools gradually, and till such time it is achieved, the teachers should visit the Anganwadi Centres to impart pre-primary education.
The government has decided that the pre-primary education, to begin with, should be restricted to one hour a day and it should be through play-way methods.