Pre-Schools, Anganwadis To Reopen In Gujarat From Feb 17 After Nearly 2 Years

Ahmedabad:  For the first time in nearly two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began and amid a decline in fresh cases in Gujarat, the state government has decided to allow anganwadi centres, pre-schools and kindergartens to reopen across the state from Thursday.

This decision was taken by Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel after reviewing the COVID-19 situation, Education Minister Jitu Vaghani said on Monday. Gujarat on Sunday reported 1,274 COVID-19 cases and 13 deaths, raising its tally to 12,15,290 and the toll to 10,808.

As per the state health department, Gujarat had 14,211 active cases as of Sunday.

“This is for the first time in the last two years of the pandemic when pre-schools and anganwadis will be reopened,” Mr Vaghani told reporters in Gandhinagar.

All the educational institutions were asked to stop holding offline classes at their premises after March 2020 as the coronavirus-induced lockdown was imposed in Gujarat. As the situation improved over time, the state government allowed schools and colleges to resume offline classes but pre-schools and anganwadis (rural child care centres) remained shut considering the safety of toddlers.

“The chief minister has given a go-ahead to reopen pre-schools, kindergartens and anganwadis in Gujarat from February 17. They remained shut for almost two years,” Mr Vaghani said, adding that the consent of parents is needed for sending their wards to pre-schools, kindergartens and anganwadis.

“From February 17, anganwadis and pre-schools can start imparting education at their premises by following the SOPs issued earlier. Officials handling anganwadi operations and owners of pre-school classes need to make necessary arrangements to restart the education,” he said.

The minister said that toddlers suffered a significant loss of education due to the closure of pre-schools in the last two years.

“The state government is preparing an action plan to overcome this issue of learning loss in children as they will take admission in standard 1 without getting any pre-school education,” the minister said. The Gujarat government recently allowed the reopening of schools for students of Classes 1 to 9 as cases declined.

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