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‘Government neglecting pre-primary education’

Pre-primary Education

NAGPUR: The country’s largest primary teachers union feels the government is not doing enough for early childhood education.

Rampal Singh, president of All India Primary Teachers Federation (AIPTF), said, “The Right To Education Act will be focusing on children between the ages of 6-14. But there is no major plan to deal with the children in pre-primary sections. That is the age when the foundation for future educational road map is laid.”

In the city to attend a seminar organized by SAARC Teachers’ Federation (STF), Singh said his group was in discussions with the government to do more for early education. “The seminar organized in Nagpur is about the same and one cannot stress enough on the need for a strong base to support future education endeavours. Currently, the only presence government has in early childhood education is through anganwadi classes which too are not up to the mark,” he said.

Heading an organization which has, including affiliated unions, over 20 lakh members, Singh is now in dialogue with the central government to make amends. He said the current government policy in dealing with pre-primary education was a one-size-fits-all approach.

“Every child has different capabilities which have to discovered at very young age. A teacher requires skill to identify those and nurture them. For this, we have prepared a project report in collaboration with a Canadian educationist and submitted it to the central government. We have suggested radical changes that are better suited to modern times in the current teaching methodology,” said Singh.

He accepted that private institutions who ran pre-primary institutions were better equipped with infrastructure and manpower to guide and teach children.

NG Ganar, MLC representing teachers constituency from Nagpur, agreed that the government was ignoring the most important age group. “In Maharashtra, the anganwadi teachers are just given basic training on nutrition. There is a greater skill required in dealing with small children. Between the ages of three to six the child is very receptive to ideas,” said Ganar. STF’s two day seminar on Early Childhood Care and Education ended on Sunday.

DV Pandit, secretary general of SAARC Teachers Federation, said, “Our organization is a branch of the Education International, which is the biggest teachers’ union in the world. This year the theme of our parent organization is early childhood education and hence we decided to conduct seminars across the country.”

The Times of India, 30 January 2012

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