MINA SWAMINATHAN's ARCHIVES : Early Childhood Care and Development, Gender and Theatre

Mina Swaminathan, Distinguished Chair, Gender and Development, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation, has had a long and varied career.

A leading practitioner, teacher educator and writer on Early Childhood Education (ECE), she was appointed in 1970 by the Central Advisory Board of Education as Chairman of the Study Group on the Development of the Preschool Child. The report of this committee, submitted in 1972, became the basis for the scheme known as Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) in 1975, a landmark intervention in the field of early childhood care and development. Additionally, she has been a trainer of generations of teachers and trainers, written three widely popular teachers’ manuals, and edited BALAK, the leading journal in the field of Early Childhood Education, for over a decade from 1972-82.

Her interest in creative drama as an effective tool for child development, both inside and outside the classroom, had developed during her early career as a teacher. Over a period of 20 years (1969-1989), her work with Mobile Creches, Delhi, a programme of day-care for children of women in construction and informal sectors, enabled the development of low-cost early childhood education, non-formal and adult education, and a unique system of on-the-job training. She also developed and directed Lok Doot, the educational theatre and communication troupe of Mobile Creches. In the early 1970s, she wrote a set of books for teachers called ‘Ways to Drama’. It set out clearly the educational aims of drama, including the stimulation of the imagination, providing opportunities for the growth of sensitivity and understanding, teaching social skills and discipline, resourcefulness and initiative, amongst others.

An activist deeply involved in the practice ad study of gender equality, she was a founder member of the Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi in 1980, and its Vice Chairman from 1987-1993. She actively participated in the third Women’s World Conference at Nairobi, in 1985, where she was responsible for putting the issue of child care on the women’s rights agenda, with her landmark book ‘Who Cares?’. Apart from continuing her advocacy for child care and maternity entitlements, she has been interested in the feminist interrogation of science, issues of gender mainstreaming, as well as the development and expression of alternate sexualities.

Mina Swaminathan has been a prolific writer through her life, and this archive seeks to create a repository of some of her important publications.