State Govt issues GR on ECCE policy

Prajakta Joshi
Saturday, 9 March 2019

Policy fails to regulate fees of standalone pre-primary schools, claim activists

Pune: To keep tabs on standalone pre-primary schools, the Maharashtra Government recently released a Government Resolution (GR) for implementation of the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) policy in the State from March 1 onwards. The policy, meant to regulate the standalone pre-primary schools, will help ensure welfare of the young children. However, activists and parents have questioned its validity as it has failed to mention the fee regulation for these schools.

“The GR released by the government for implementation of the policy clearly states that the private institutions educating the children in the age group of ‘0 to six years’ will be free to decide the amount of fees to be charged on their own. This will provide them with a licence to charge exorbitantly,” said Adv Anubha Sahai, parent activist. 

“It will only lead to further commercialisation of education. This way, it might be difficult for people from low or middle-income group to send their wards to a playgroup or playschool. The fees everywhere are already so high, they might soon be higher than the parents’ salaries. This is a serious concern for future parents,”  she said. The activists have applauded the move to bring in a regulatory body to set guidelines for the functioning of the pre-primary schools.

“These small playschools can be found everywhere, in housing societies, shopping complexes, all lanes and by-lanes. While many adhere to safety norms, there are many which don’t. It is necessary to check whether these schools have good infrastructure in accordance with all security guidelines, whether the staff has been verified by the police, etc.,” Sahai stated. She said that while the policy is commendable, its success could only be determined if the government is able to implement it.

According to the GR, all pre-schools in the State, private as well as government (Anganwadis) will have to register the number of students, information of teachers along with Aadhaar numbers, etc., on the portal that will be created by the Women and Child Development Department. The teachers and helpers at all these institutes will be trained by the government through e-learning modules.

The government will lay down the role of urban and rural local bodies such as Zilla Parishads, gram panchayats, municipal corporations and councils, in the registration of ECCE centres, their regulation, inspections, accreditation and action to be taken in case of complaints or violations.

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