Friday, October 9, 2009

Cooked vs Packaged meals in India's state preschool program

One of the burning child development policy issues in India (which has some fascinating issues I expect to touch on from time to time in this blog) is whether to serve hot, cooked meals or packaged foods to kids in their Integrated Child Development Scheme.

They have created over 40,000 centers nationwide since 1975, providing education, health, and nutrition services to pregnant or nursing mothers and 23 million kids under 6. Half of those kids are in ECE. It's sort of a combination of WIC, SCHIP, and Head Start (or, for Californians, Healthy Families and State Preschool).

In general, India has made a huge effort to save large percentages of preschool slots for the lowest classes, even in private schools. (They use a euphemism for the lowest class that I can't remember. If it comes to me, I'll update this post.)

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