On Thursday, more than 5,000 Anganwadi workers from across Karnataka gathered in Bengaluru to protest against the government’s decision to start lower and upper kindergarten classes (LKG and UKG) in Karnataka Public Schools.
The government in its order said, “4,100 Anganwadi centres under the department of women and child development would be shifted to premises of government primary schools and they’d be developed under ‘Bala Snehi Kendras’.” However, there is no mention of whether Aanganwadi workers will be appointed for the jobs in schools.
Talking to The Logical Indian, S Varalakshmi, president of Karnataka State Anganwadi Workers’ said, “We protested because the government is planning to merge LKG and UKG to Karnataka Public Schools. What will happen to the Anganwadi workers and where will they go?”
“Even Anganwadi workers could have done a part of the job, but they have not been mentioned in the equation,” said a government school principal to The Times of India.
“The project will be initiated in only 276 schools, which is 1% of the total number of schools. We still do not have the recruitment rules for pre-primary teachers,” told MT Reju, state project director, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA). “For continuation of education from pre-primary to secondary, it’s better to have the kindergarten in the school,” Reju added.
On the contrary, Varalakshmi said, “Only children between 3-6 years of age come to Aanganwadis and that is a crucial period for the development of a child’s mind. And children of that age require special attention which will not be possible in government schools.”
Following the protest, Women and Child Development Minister Jayamala assured the protesters that she will lead a delegation to talk about the issue, said Varalakshmi.