Integrated Child development Services (ICDS) Scheme is a central sector scheme which is implemented by Government of West Bengal in collaboration with Government of India since 1975. This scheme aims at all round development of children below 6 years of age. Apart from nutrition, health check up, immunisation preschool Education for 3 to 6 years of children was an important component of ICDS. Yet several studies indicated that the Pre-School Education of ICDS could not make the children ready for school at the age of 6 years. This has forced a majority of population to take shelter in private nursery/kindergarten for their kids school readiness.
In view of above in the year 2012 Government of West Bengal in the Department of WCD & SW undertook an initiative to revamp the PSE component of ICDS so that it prepares children better ready at the age of 6 from the Anganwadi Centers itself. Our Honourable Minister has named such upgrade AWCs as Shishu Aloy which means an abode of children. Now such upgraded Shishu Aloys are ready to challenge the private nurseries as well as spreads the message to other states to follow the suit. Out target is to upgrade each and every AWC to the Of Shishu Aloy so that whole population can avail Early Childhood Care and Education at their door step without any further financial investment. This step is aimed at creating a society with very few school drop out which will increase literacy rate with standard education and make Society with better societal values and health.
ECCE In West Bengal is a programme of great foresight. This document details the initiation and strengthening of the ECCE process on a year-by-year basis with the active partnership of Unicef beginning with the creation of the curriculum to resource building through training. The growing number of Shishu Aloys bear testament to the sound strategy applied and the long-term commitment of the DWCD&SW. The uniqueness of the programme in West Bengal is defined by the creation of Master Trainers within the multi-layered training strategy. Today, the training of District Level Master Trainers is complete and the stage is set for scaling up of the programme. The positive outcomes of ECCE in West Bengal are explicit in case studies from the field with testify how attendance at Model Centres has risen and how the enthusiasm of the children has truly been kindled. A clear, defined strategy for scaling up of the child friendly ECCE model in 1,19,418, AWC, supported by continued monitoring and capacity building, would be tremendous boost for future of the programme going forward.