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State seeks to regulate pre-primary education

Nursery admissions

If all goes according to plan, the state government will soon be able to put an end to the “unaccountable practices” of school managements for  admission to pre-primary classes. This means that there will be checks on collection of capitation fee, which is described as voluntary donations by parents, and screening of children.

And this will be possible because of the Right To Education Act (RTE), which was launched on April 1, 2010.

The Act has mentioned banning capitation fees and also advised the state government to regulate the fees for pre-primary class by 2013. The RTE Act makes it mandatory for state governments to make changes in their systems and implement the rules within three years.

Currently, the state school education department does not have a say over the pre-primary school activities.

“Considering all these issues, and also that pre-primary class does not fall within our jurisdiction, we have decided to look into how we can bring it under the school education department,” said state school education minister Rajendra Darda. “Right now, it comes under the Human Resources ministry, which is not there at state-levels. So, there is no accountability as such.”

This is not the first time that the state government is trying to bring in pre-primary schools under its jurisdiction.

The state government, in 1996, had formulated the Maharashtra Pre-School Centres (Regulation of Admission) Act, 1996, which included all the issues, but it was scrapped before being implemented due to pressure from politicians.

Darda’s predecessor Balasaheb Thorat had initiated the process and sought the legal department’s opinion on the issue.
Thorat had also asked the Maharashtra State Council of Education, Research and Training to initiate discussions with stakeholders and formulate guidelines for pre-primary schools’ inclusion.

Hindustan Times, February 27, 2011

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