Uttar Pradesh, one of the largest states in India, has almost 20% (31 million) of the total 164 million children aged 0 to 6 years living in India. Despite achieving 93% school enrolment in UP, only 7.9% children in Class I can read their level text or more and, less than 20% children in Class II can read Class II level text or more. Additionally, ASER data shows that in UP over 65% children aged 3 and over 47% aged more than 4 do not attend any private or public pre-schools in the state.
Considering the urgent need to create awareness and activation with respect to primary education in the state, an initiative has been kicked off in the three districts of UP.
Children of three districts in Uttar Pradesh would have a good time grasping knowledge with the newly launched initiative- ‘Learn, Play, Grow’. The 12-month programme, launched in early February, aims to ensure that children attending the Anganwadi Centres (AWCs) develop stronger school readiness skills by focusing specifically on emergent literacy skills.
The project aims to build the capacity of Anganwadi Workers (AWW) to prepare children for school by using Galli Galli Sim Sim’s (GGSS) early literacy materials in a play-based manner. The project will also educate parents and caregivers about fun and engaging ways to support the child’s literacy development.
Undertaken by Sesame Workshop in India (SWI) and Nihar Shanti Amla, the initiative is proposed to intervene across 3800 AWCs in Shahjahanpur, Farukkabad and Kannauj districts of Uttar Pradesh.
The idea is to develop content for kids of tender age so that they get a hold of learning faster. “Research has proven that the brain forms as many as 700 neural connections per second before the age of 5. Access to high-quality education at this age effectively impacts the learning abilities of children later during their primary, middle and higher education. A vast body of research has demonstrated that children who participate in high-quality early childhood programmes are more successful throughout their school career, are more competent socially and emotionally, and show better verbal, intellectual and physical development during early childhood than children who are not enrolled in similar programmes. Hence, the concept of early childhood education in India needs to move beyond ABCs and 123s and focus on holistic learning of children,” says Sashwati Banerjee, Managing Director, Sesame Workshop in India.
“The Learn.Play.Grow model has interesting content that focuses specifically on emergent literacy skills. It is great that the project caters to educate parents and care givers too about fun and engaging ways to support children’s literacy development. Nihar Shanti Amla is dedicated to bring about a progressive change in children’s education, for which 5 % net contribution from the sale of each pack of Nihar Shanti Amla goes towards this initiative. The project will reach around 70,000 children and their care givers,” says Anuradha Aggarwal, Chief Marketing Officer, Marico Limited.
The Learn.Play.Grow initiative is targeted at addressing these current challenges in the pre-primary education space in Uttar Pradesh by providing engaging Galli Galli Sim Sim materials (print, audio, visual and digital) for the children in the AWCs and building capacities of the AWWs to better engage with children.