A two-day workshop on ‘Early Childhood and Care Education’ (ECCE) commenced here on Thursday.
The workshop is being organized by State Mission Directorate of ICDS Department in collaboration with UNICEF.
The workshop, which is first of its kind event in the Valley, is aimed to sensitize the field staff of ICDS on how to impart modern basic education and nutrition to the children.
A galaxy of eminent experts of UNICEF and Programme Officers, Project Officers of ICDS from Jammu and Kashmir Divisions, Master Trainers, Health Officers, Supervisors and other staff are participating in the workshop.
Speaking on the occasion, Mission Director ICDS, G. A. Sofi said ECCE would be a milestone initiative which would give self-confidence to the budding minds as high quality education, early in life, gives children the best start.
Highlighting the role of Anganwari Workers and Helpers, the Mission Director said that the Government is providing all opportunities to the children in the age group of 2 to 6 through Anganwari Centres.
He said that the children who take part in quality ECCE were likely to be more confident and curious about the world around them and this would help them to do better than others.
Sofi said quality schooling facility in early life would give such kids the best start to grow as self-confident citizens to take an active part in national development.
This facility would also help kids to learn important skills that facilitate them to become strong, happy and successful in later life.
The Mission Director said that the earliest years of a child’s life are critical as these years determine child’s survival and thriving in life, and lay the foundations for their learning and holistic development.
He said it is during the early years that children develop the cognitive, physical, social and emotional skills that they need to succeed in life.
He said the early experiences are largely determined by supportive family and community care practices, proper nutrition and health care, learning opportunities, which in turn are dependent on enabling policies and investments for young children and families. ECCE positively impacts attendance, retention, and learning of children in elementary and higher education.
The Director NIPCCD Lucknow, Dr. D. D. Panday said The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2010 guarantees children their right to quality elementary education. ECCE is not recognized as a compulsory provision by RTE, but RTE urges states to provide free pre-school education for children above three years.
Education Specialist from UNICEF, Amita Tondon appreciated the efforts of ICDS for organizing such a laudable venture and the hospitality of the Kashmiri people. She stressed the need for studying best models of pre-school system and gradually incorporating these in the state’s Anganwari centres.
Prominent among others from UNICEF were Director, Vikramshilla Education Resource Society, Kolkata, Shubra Chatterji, Associate Professor, Institute of Home Science, University of Delhi Prof. Geeta Chopra, Senior Manager, Early Education ICF International Dr. Anubha Rajesh, ECCE Consultant Savitri Singh, Associate Professor IGNOU Dr. Rekha Sharma Sen , Deputy Director ICDS, Kashmir Rashida Akthar, CDPO ECCE, Kashmir Nighat Aalam, CDPO Zaldagar Zarina Shafi and other staff members of the Mission Directorate of ICDS and Social Welfare Department.