Citizens divided over preschools in residential areas

While some parents say children cannot endure long-distance travel and it’s better that preschools are in residential areas, others feel traffic jams and sound of vehicles are a disturbance

Updated - February 17, 2023 03:05 am IST

Published - February 16, 2023 11:45 pm IST - Bengaluru

Children playing at a preschool in Bengaluru.

Children playing at a preschool in Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: file photo

Parashurama Nayak, a resident of Kodichikkanahalli, East Bengaluru, had to shift his residence to another street after facing repeated traffic jams in front of his house and constant noise of vehicles that ferried children to a preschool next door.

“For the past five years, the preschool has been running illegally in a residential building disturbing the whole area. I have repeatedly complained to the civic body, but nothing has changed. Preschools in residential areas should be shut down,” says Mr. Nayak. 

Differing views

However, the debate on allowing preschools in residential areas is polarising. Parents argue that children cannot endure long-distance travel, especially in high-traffic commercial hubs, over concerns about their safety. They feel preschools in residential bylanes are a blessing. 

Various Montessori and preschools recently claimed that they had been notified by the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) asking them to move out of residential colonies. However, one of the owners argued that child-care centres could not be treated as commercial activities. 

However, contrary to the popular perception among Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) that preschools are commercial activities and should not be allowed in residential areas, nursery schools have been categorised as “Urban Amenities 2” or “U2” in Bangalore Development Authority’s Revised Master Plan - 2015, presently in force in the city. U2 is allowed in residential areas. 

However, there is a grey area in RMP - 2015. While it lists the prerequisite road width for a list of 20 urban amenities to be located on that road, in the range of 12 to 18 metres (40 to 60 feet), including for middle and high schools, it doesn’t specify any road width for nursery schools, leaving room for confusion among RWAs, parents, preschools and civic officials. 

This notwithstanding, many preschools are guilty of several other violations. Several preschools in the city are located even on roads narrower than 40 feet, the minimum width of a road to have an urban amenity. Traffic jams on such roads when parents drop and pick up their children block roads for hours.

Meanwhile, civic officials, who had served notices to several preschools in the East Zone, said these institutions had a plan approval for residential purposes and not to run a preschool. “As per Building Bye-laws, a preschool is of non-residential purpose, and hence running them in residential buildings is a clear violation of the law. So we have served notices asking them to shut down the facility,” a senior official said. 

Preschools in residential bylanes 

Parents say preschools in commercial zones are not a safe proposition for children and schools need to be closer home to avoid long commutes, an argument that even the traffic police seem to buy. 

“We chose a preschool based on proximity to our homes. There are over a dozen of them in our locality. BBMP should not shut them down since it will adversely impact parents and children,” said Rashmi Shekhar, whose daughter goes to a preschool in Bommanahalli.

Another parent Radha Krishna came down heavily on the civic body for initiating action against preschools in residential areas. She demanded that the civic body listens to parents’ concerns first.

At a recent interaction with The Hindu, M.A. Saleem, Special Commissioner (Traffic), said schools were better off near residential areas than commercial hubs. “This will not only avoid traffic in commercial hubs but also is safe for children to commute,” he said. 

However, many residents at the receiving end of the chaos caused by preschools in their localities disagree. “Preschools are creating a mess in my area, as many vehicles pile up every morning and afternoon, creating traffic snarls in narrow bylanes. Because these are in residential hubs, traffic police personnel are not present there to regulate traffic,” said Manoj Kumar, a resident of HSR Layout. 

It is not the first time the civic body has tried to regulate and evict preschools from residential areas. In 2017, it served similar notices to over 4,000 preschools asking them to shut down. However, following a backlash from parents, the civic body halted all the processes to regulate preschools, only to make a comeback recently, again to be faced with the ire of parents.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.