Maharashtra government mulling law to regulate pre-primary education

Maharashtra government is planning to bring a law to regulate pre-primary education in the state, School Education Minister Vinod Tawde said here today. The proposed law will deal with three key aspects of fees, academics and teachers, he said. As of today, the government has no data with it on the present scenario of the pre-primary education in the state.

As per the “Statistics of School Education Report of 2010-2011”, which was brought out by the Union HRD Ministry, there were 56,145 pre-primary educational institutions having a total enrollment of 23,66,806 students in Maharashtra.

“At present, the government is already working on the draft legislation. The focus of the proposed law will be on aspects like fee control, academics, qualification criteria of teachers and infrastructure provided by the pre-primary schools,” Tawde said.

He said the government was also examining the legal aspects so that the law does not fail the scrutiny of the court when implemented.

However, sources in the School Education department said that if the pre-primary education is brought under the control of the government, then the exchequer will have to bear a financial burden of Rs 1,200 crore by way of grants.

In the event of the government regulating the pre-primary section, the schools are bound to seek the government grants, according to the sources.

For several years now, parents have been up in arms over the alleged exorbitant fees being charged by the pre-primary schools run by various trusts and overall lack of control over academics and other factors.

The pre-primary sector includes pre-primary classes prior to standard I, kindergarten and playgroups.

At present, the state government has no control over these institutions.

The issues of hefty fees and interviews of children and their parents for admission were raised in the state legislature in March last year.

The previous Congress-led state government had set up a 21-member committee under the chairmanship of then School Education Minister Fauzia Khan.

In its report submitted to the government in July 2012, the panel suggested to enact a law titled “The Maharashtra Pre-Primary Education Act”.

The committee had recommended that the law should ban capitation fees, interviews or tests for children and their parents. It also recommended to make registration or recognition of all pre-primary schools mandatory.

However, the report was put in the cold storage by the erstwhile government.

As per the Union HRD ministry report of 2010-2011, there were 56,145 pre-primary educational institutions in the state.

The total 23,66,806 enrollment of students included 12,59,699 boys and 11,07,107 girl students. The enrollment of Schedule Caste students then was 3,78,578, whereas the enrollment of Schedule Tribe students was 2,69,412.

When it came to teachers in pre-primary schools, all the schools had 56,145 teachers.

The percentage of trained teachers in pre-primary schools then was 99 per cent in the state and the pupil-to-teacher ratio stood at one teacher per 42 students.

[Source:-Financial express]