New norms for appointing anganwadi workers welcomed

Bhopal, March 10 (IANS) Activists working for the cause of malnourished children Wednesday welcomed the move to relax the educational qualification norms for anganwadi workers but warned the Madhya Pradesh government against complacency in building the capacities of the candidates.

Facing difficulties in finding suitable candidates fulfilling the educational criteria, the Madhya Pradesh’s Department of Women and Child Development (DWCD) Tuesday decided to relax the norms and appoint even illiterate women as anganwadi workers and assistants.

Illiterate women will also be eligible for selection, if literate women were not available in villages during the selection process continuing across the state since September 2009.

The central government has approved opening of 9,691 additional anganwadis and 9,820 sub-anganwadis in the state but the DWCD was unable to fill the posts at several places due to non-availability of educationally-qualified candidates.

Earlier, the educational qualification for an anganwadi worker was Class 12 pass for non-tribal areas and Class 5 pass for tribal areas, if candidates with higher qualification were not available.

‘But since the department was finding it impossible to get Class 12 and Class 5 pass candidates in several districts, it decided to relax the educational norms because an anganwadi worker and assistant is supposed to be a local,’ a DWCD official said.

The activists welcomed the move but said building the capacities of the candidates was also necessary.

‘It is a welcome step, but the state government should show consistency in implementation of the steps taken by it as these women would need training and support system to become result-oriented,’ opined Rolly Shivhare of Right to Food Campaign’s Madhya Pradesh support group.

‘The state must come out with a comprehensive training module and inclusive and quality-based training methodology for their capacity building,’ Shivhare told IANS.

Seema Jain of Madhya Pradesh Lok Sangarsh Saajha Manch also welcomed the move but emphasised that the workers should be given proper training by the department.

She said the move will help in internalising the structural problems of children, pregnant and lactating women, and adolescent girls. This was lacking due to caste considerations as upper caste candidates were mostly selected, she said.

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