New infrastructure norms put independent pre-schools in a spot of bother

New infrastructure norms put independent pre-schools in a spot of bother

New infrastructure norms put independent  pre-schools in a spot of bother

While several unaided schools have flayed the recent State government regulations that specify minimum infrastructure as unreasonable, independent pre-schools in the State are the worst-hit. 

With Block Education Officers (BEOs) insisting on blindly implementing the rules, several schools are left with no choice but to shut down. Pre-schools complain of harassment by BEOs, who in the name of implementing the revised rules, are making the schools shell out huge sums of money to accord permission to them. 

The problem for independent-run pre-schools began in November 2014, with the revised registration and infrastructure regulations announced by the Department of Public Instructions (DPI). Earlier, independent pre-schools did not require any registration. However, according to the new regulations, these schools need to pay a processing fee of Rs 10,000 and a registration fee of Rs 25,000. The infrastructure requirement specified for the schools include at least two classrooms, one head teacher room, one students’ room, one classroom for every teacher, eight toilets (four each for boys and girls) and a kitchen for mid-day meals.

Unreasonably short deadline

The independent pre-schools in question are not attached to any primary school. They function on a small scale, catering to middle income and lower income groups in the neighbourhood. The new regulations have put them in a bind on two accounts: First, the government has assessed independent pre-schools and pre-schools attached to primary schools with same parameters. Second, the deadline given to comply with the new regulations was unreasonably short. The schools were given not more than two months’ time to put the infrastructure in place. With the onset of admission season, the schools are unsure of whether to go ahead with the admissions or not. The Block Education Officers, during their visit to some of the schools, have even threatened to shut these schools down for non-compliance. 

Addressing mediapersons here on Tuesday, the Karnataka Council of Pre-schools (KCPS) flayed the apathy of the government in addressing the concerns of these small scale schools. “This will have an immediate effect on the functioning of the schools as non-compliance with the norms will lead to criminal proceedings and ultimately lead to shutting down of the pre-schools,” said Aruna Prasad, president, KCPS.

Pruthvi Banwasi, secretary, KCPS said, “The closure of the centres will have a direct impact on the livelihood of women entrepreneurs for most of these schools are run by them. Our schools act as a transition between day-care and primary schools. These schools provide an opportunity for children from humble backgrounds to access pre-nursery and nursery education. By threatening the existence of our schools, the government is denying the opportunity of education for these children.” 

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