Role of Panchayati Raj Institutions in Early Childhood Care Education in Himachal Pradesh- An Appraisal
Early Childhood Care Education (ECCE) is an indispensable foundation for lifelong learning and development and has critical impact of success at the primary stage of education. It is therefore becomes imperative to accord priority attention to ECCE (Govt. of India, 2012). Research has also indicated that if these early years are not supported by, or embedded in, a stimulating and enriching physical and psychosocial environment, the chances of the child’s brain developing to its full potential are considerably, and often irreversibly, reduced. The Govt.of India has emphasizes the role of panchayatiraj institution in planning and implementation of ECCE programmes. The emphasis is laid on the direct involvement of panchayatiraj institutions to oversee the management of ECCE (Govt. of India,2012). In Himachal Pradesh panchayati raj institutions have been involved in monitoring, supervision of ECCE/anganwadi centres and identification of beneficiaries (Govt. of Himachal Pradesh, 2011).Panchayats are authorise to check regularity of functioning of anganwadi centres, ensure coverage of all eligible beneficiaries, ensure the coordination with department like health and family welfare, panchayati raj and education, ensure non-formal pre-school education at anganwadi centres, improving infrastructure, ensure distribution of food and health services, construction of anganwadi centres in its areas, providing infrastructure facilities and other logistic support to facilitate implementation of the programme (Govt. of Himachal Prsdesh, 2010). It is against this background that the research was conducted to find out the role of panchayati raj institution in ECCE. The six districts of Himachal Pradesh were surveyed. The multi-staged and simple random sampling technique was used to select the 180 anganwadi workers, 120 members of gram panchayats and 60 members of panchayat samiti. The data collected was summarized into frequencies and percentage.The findings of the study revealed that the role of Panchayati Raj Institutions in supporting Anganwadi services is found to be wanting in several respects.
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