The purpose of Module 5 is to provide an overview of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and its provisions related to ESC rights. 

This module should help trainees understand/clarify for themselves:

  • the general principles that provide the basic framework for the CRC;
  • specific provisions related to ESC rights;
  • implementation measures; and
  • mechanisms for monitoring implementation of the CRC.

Suggested Methods

In discussing children and ESC rights, it is important to stress that ESC rights are an integral part of the rights of the child.  Increased enjoyment of ESC rights by children, as well as by adults, would contribute to increased protection of the rights of the child.

¨      Discussion of text below: The following text can be used for facilitating discussion on the link between policies and programs for ensuring the enjoyment of ESC rights and protec­tion of child rights.

Anganwadis (Crèches) Can Help

"She will go to school when these grow a little older,” was the father’s answer when we asked when eight-year-old Radha would be enrolled in school.  We looked around at Radha’s siblings, aged six months, two years and three years, and wondered if that day would come late-or never.

Radha’s mother had to go out to the field and could not do without her help at home. Radha’s predicament could have been avoided had a crèche or a child-care facility been available.  This is indeed one of the aims of the anganwadis (crèches) run under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).  In fact, a well-functioning ICDS centre is meant to provide much more.  It would look after the nutrition and health care needs of pregnant and lactating women.  It would enable poor women and their elder children to go to work or school without constraint.  It would even look after the developmental needs of the young children placed in its care. 

A well-functioning anganwadi (crèche) has much to contribute to the success of schooling.  If pregnant women are looked after, then babies are less likely to have a low birth-weight, with all its attendant problems.  Providing the right kind of stimula­tion as well as food to small children helps their healthy development.  And a good pre-school programme enhances the readiness of young children to enter school. 

The performance of anganwadis (crèches) in the States (in India) studied is, however, very poor.  To start with, coverage is patchy: barely one-third of the sample villages had an anganwadi.  Secondly, an anganwadi is judged purely on the regularity and quality of the mid-day meal it supplies to the children.  Even by this basic criterion, most parents felt that the facility was not satisfactory.  Thirdly, anganwadis had no linkage with the primary school, either in terms of their location or in terms of ful­filling the needs of elder caregivers.

In Himachal Pradesh (another State in India), by contrast, about half of the villages have a functioning anganwadi, and 85 per cent of these anganwadis are considered "satisfactory” by the local headteacher.  One comparative study of schooling in Sri­maur district in the State of Himachal Pradesh and Allahabad district in the State of Uttar Pradesh found that the functioning of anganwadis was very poor in Allahabad but reasonably good in Himachal Pradesh.  This is one of the circumstances that have helped Himachali women to send their children to school in spite of their heavy work-load.  In Kerala (another State with high level of social indicators), the situation is even better: 99 per cent of the villages have an anganwadi.1

1.   Public Report on Basic Education in India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999), 31.


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