Young children and toddlers in cramped spaces without adequate ventilation, play schools and day care-centres run in garages, untrained teachers and helpers. This is the situation of several play-schools and day care centres that are mushrooming in the city.

Lack of regulation and rules to govern them has resulted in this sorry state of affairs. There are 44,000 children in 1,935 anganwadis in the city between 3 and 6 years under the Department of Women and Child Development and crèches are established under the Central Social Welfare Board.But surprisingly, the day-care centres and play-homes found in a big number in each locality do not come under the purview of the Department of Education nor the Department of Child Development. Officials in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) conceded that authorities do not even insist on a ‘trade license’ as they are similar to education institutions.

A visit to some of the play-schools and nursery centres in Basaveswarnagar, Sriramapuram, Malleswaram and Vasanthanagar to enquire about the fee structure, infrastructural facilities, curriculum and qualification of teaching and non-teaching staff was revealing.

Most centres have pre-school which also double up as day-care centres after classes. The fee structure ranges anywhere between Rs. 12,000 and Rs. 2 lakh per annum. None of the government departments have any information on the play-schools, nursery classes and day care centres.

The authorities (Block Education Office), however, collects a fee of Rs 2,000 from play-schools that have kindergarten. But the fact that day-care centres and play-schools do not come under the purview of any department is a matter of concern, say experts. Following the rape of a nearly three-year-old child enrolled in a play school in HSR Layout this January, a group of parents under the banner of the ‘Vigilant Citizen’ have called for strict monitoring of play-schools .

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