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Updated: February 16, 2010 16:46 IST

Pre-school not before four: Sibal

Staff Reporter
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Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal, during National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) annual meeting in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt
The Hindu
Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal, during National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) annual meeting in New Delhi on Monday. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Children should not be allowed to attend pre-school if they are less than four years old while children who are six years old could be admitted to Class I, Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said here on Monday.

During an interaction with Principals of various schools in the Capital, Mr. Sibal said: “Pre-school should be based on non-formal education and in order to attend pre-school, children should be four years before March 31. Formal schooling can begin when the child is six years old.”

At present children who are three years of age can apply for admission to pre-school.

“The reason for interaction with Principals is because many feel that the present system of admissions is traumatic for children. It becomes impossible for children of three years to seek admission to school. There are incidents of children stammering due to stress. When a child witnesses the competitive environment in school he/she is traumatised,” he added.

Not only is it unjust to the child but parents also go through a great deal of stress and pressure.

“The number of schools in Delhi are less for a population of about 1.4 crore. There is too much competition,” Mr. Sibal said.

According to the Minister, non-formal pre-school should take place outside the school premises.

In pre-school, formal education should not be given to the child with the aim to prepare for school and standardisation of pre-school is also required.

Stating that a consensus had been evolved during the interaction with the school Principals, Mr. Sibal said: “There should be a law to this effect in the Capital. I will write to Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit about the consensus that has evolved.”

He said the proposal should be implemented throughout the country.

Springdales School, Pusa Road, Principal Ameeta Wattal said: “We welcome the proposal to allow children to attend pre-school at the age of four. Prior to this age, children may not have toilet training, motor and cognitive skills.”

Emphasising the importance of monitoring pre-schools, Lady Irwin College Department of Human Development and Child Studies member Dr. Indu Kaura said: “Like all other levels of school, pre-schools too need to have a monitoring body.”

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