MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court (HC) has asked the state government to bring about a policy for pre-primary education by the end of the year.
The state policy must be in consonance with the provisions of the Right to Education Act, said the court as it underlined the importance and benefits a child can acquire from pre-primary education.
The order was passed at Aurangabad on June 29 by a bench of chief justice Manjula Chellur and justice RM Borde on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Dr Jagganath Patil. The PIL had expressed grievances and highlighted hardships faced by parents while securing admission for their children for pre-primary education in good schools in the state.Under Section 11 of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, there is an obligation to lay down the procedure for pre-primary education as well, since pre-primary education has also taken a major role in the education system of the country.
City-based educationist Sushma Bhale welcomed the move, saying, “Many preschools charge very high fees for small kids; one can’t say if the facilities they promise are given or not. But, this move will surely bring down the business of pre-primary education.”
The grievance is that even pre-primary education has become expensive and beyond reach for general public. The bench observed that given the vast number of institutions which cater to pre-primary education, the lack of proper norms or guidelines, causes “a serious disparity” amongst the institutions and also quality of education given in the pre-primary education institutions.
“Having regard to the importance and benefits a child can acquire from preprimary education, the framers of the statute took care of pre-primary education also, which is a foundation in the education of any person,” said the HC. The court said it failed to understand why the authorities were unable to bring any procedure or policy in Maharashtra even after having a study tour in other states like Rajasthan.
Even small preschools were happy with the order. “We strive hard to provide quality education similar to international schools at a very low price. With the laws coming in, we will surely upgrade, but the rules should not be a barrier in the child’s education,” said Anjali J, owner of Initial Step Playgroup and Nursery.
“If such policy is under active consideration of the authorities, we fail to understand, why they need one year to bring it out,” said the bench, when told by the state lawyers that it was working on a policy.