Citing “ill-effects on mental ability of children” and in the absence of adequate clarity in the School Education Rules of Haryana on admissions to pre-primary classes in private schools, Haryana School Education department is mulling on the possibility of shutting down Nursery, LKG and UKG classes in private schools across the state.
These are the days, when most of the private schools across the state begin the process of admissions to pre-primary classes. There are about 8500 private schools across Haryana those admit children in pre-primary classes.
While Haryana’s education minister said that “pre-primary admissions will be stopped in private schools from the next session, after studying it’s practical aspects and a decision has been taken by the school education department”, the officials of the Haryana school education department told The Indian Express that “no such decision to shut down Nursery or pre-primary classes have been taken, as yet”.
Talking to The Indian Express, Haryana’s Education Minister Kanwar Pal, said, “The School Education department has taken the decision that since it affects child’s mental abilities and growth patterns when the child is admitted in these classes at an early age, thus the department has decided not to allow admissions in these classes in private institutions. We shall be implementing it from the next session, if the admissions are not being held as per rules and regulations.”
Further replying to the queries of The Indian Express, the minister added, “As such the rules allow admissions from Class 1 onwards, till Class 12 in the schools. There are set guidelines. Thus, the admissions will be held accordingly”.
Talking about the practicality and ground impact of such a decision, if taken, Kanwar Pal said, “We shall see, how feasible it is. The practicality of the decision shall also be examined, before it is implemented”.
Senior officers of the Education Department, however, said that there was “no such decision of closing down Nursery classes in private schools has been taken, as yet, by the department”.
Calling it a “confusion”, and describing what transpired, Vandana Disodia, Additional Director (Elementary Education, Haryana), said, “Actually, on June 10, there was a complaint lodged by Brijpal Singh Parmar, who runs a NGO in Bhiwani alleging that the recognised private schools cannot admit children in pre-primary classes, as it was against the rules and regulations. The same complaint was moved to Woman and Child Department, as well. From there, a reference came to the School Education Department to look into the issue. The Directorate of Elementary Education further marked the complaint’s reference to all the district elementary education officers with a copy back to Woman and Child Department, asking them to take action as per rules and regulations and also intimate the Directorate on the action taken. Now, this reference is being circulated on social media. But, no such decision to shut down Nursery classes, has been taken, as yet.”.
Another senior officer told The Indian Express, “Right to Education, RTE Act, is applicable from Class 1 onwards. There is an issue that these schools are not affiliated as far as admissions to the pre-primary classes are concerned. They had been seeking the same for a long time. Rather, the government is contemplating on granting affiliation to these institutions by amending certain provisions”.
The complainant in the case, Brijpal Singh Parmar, said, “In June, this year, I had lodged a complaint with the Education Department, but they did not initiate any action. Earlier also, the Haryana School Education Department had been claiming that they did not have anything to do with pre-primary admissions done by these private schools since it does not fall in their purview. Then, I filed a RTI with the Education department to know the status of my complaint, in response of which the department told me that they have taken a decision to shut down pre-primary classes in private schools”.
Kulbhushan Sharma, national president, National Independent Schools Association, called the Haryana government’s move “completely absurd”.
“The New Education Draft is yet pending, which is likely to be finalised in a few months. For several years, this dispute between the private schools and government had been going on. There are thousands of female teachers who teach in pre-primary classes. If the classes are shut, where will these teachers go? It is government’s job to generate employment or snatch it? Without studying its impact, how can any government take such irresponsible and absurd decisions? What if a couple is transferred to a neighbouring state, in that case their child who is not studying in pre-primary class in Haryana, where will such a child go? The child would have already crossed the eligible age to be admitted in a pre-primary class in the neighbouring state, does it mean the child continues to feel deprived just because he was born in Haryana?”
Sharma added, “I heard that one government officer has said that Aanganwaris’ standards shall be upgraded to accommodate such students. When the government, till date, has not been able to upgrade the standards of government schools, how can they even think of talking about Aanganwaris’ standard upgradation. Why don’t they first upgrade their infrastructure and then think about taking such steps”.