BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha government on Thursday signed two memorandum of understanding (MoUs) with the Netherlands-based Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF) to ensure early childhood education and child-friendly smart city.
The state government and the BvLF would collaboratively address the challenges and systematic bottlenecks in the coverage of early childhood services so that future efforts would encourage replication to the additional 1.1 million tribal children under six years of age living in the state and eventually across the state to non-tribal children as well.
To incorporate best practices from the field-tested model of mother tongue-based early childhood education in 6,681 Anganwadi centres serving 2.5 lakh children in 12 tribal districts in the state, BvLF would invest 1.5 million Euros and work along with the Women and Child Development (WCD) department for the next three years (2016-2019).
BvLF would set up a programme management unit (PMU) within WCD at the Odisha State Child Protection Society (OSCPS) which would implement the programme.
“The partnership would enable young tribal children to experience a holistic development, with opportunities for stimulation and brain development through better early childhood care and education in their mother tongue,” said WCD Secretary Vishal Kumar Dev.
The state government also inked another MoU with the body focusing on an urban mandate.
Odisha is the first state that BvLF would invest in and work along with the government for three years (2015-2018) to address the various issues emerging out of rapid urbanisation and to assist the BDA in developing an advanced and effective planning and management framework that would be beneficial to the city and its population.
BvLF has funded National Institute of Urban Affairs, (NIUA) 832330 Euros to set up a Child-Friendly Smart City Centre at Bhubaneswar, which would be responsible for capacity building of town planners and staff of BMC and BDA.
“The resources developed in the CFSC centre will cater to all the cities and municipalities,” said HUD Secretary G Mathi Vathanan.