HC issues notice to PM’s PS on pre-schooling
Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Monday issued notice to Principal Secretary to Prime Minister and others in a petition seeking a policy for admissions in private schools in J&K ‘as is fair and just for every stratum of the society’.
The public interest litigation (PIL) also prays for prohibiting non-official respondents from carrying on the admission on the existing policy under which they admit children at nursery and pre-school stage.
The petitioner Kaiser Ahmed Bhat, claiming to be an early childhood expert from Srinagar told the court, “the policy of admission at nursery stage in other parts of the country and globally is dictated by the rule that the children should be six years of age by the time they reach standard 1st.”
“However no such definite policy is observed in the private schools in J&K. This is contrary to what is prescribed by the experts in the field of children education,” he said.
The petitioner also said that there is a unanimous view that the children who are of lesser age are not physically and psychologically equipped to cope with the learning process.
He stated “learning is imposed on them by schools and parents at a premature stage. Such children grow up with stunted cognitive and logical abilities.”
What is needed is that prep-schools and pre-schooling learning should be arranged and structured in such manner that children should not be less than six years of age when they are enrolled in the standard 1st, he prayed.
“The common thinking may appear to support that the children who start their education earlier would have advantage over those who adhere to the norm fixed in this regard. But it is counterintuitive and such children rather than having head start in their education unfailingly face impediments in the development and growth of their cognitive abilities”, claimed the petitioner.
His petition said that the pre-schools in J&K start admission process for the children at the age of 3+ without exception.
“Pre-schooling for the children is, also without exception, only for the duration of 02 years. Either it is Nursery and K.G or K.G and Sr. K.G. In every case the child is only five years of age when he or she becomes eligible to be admitted to the standard 1st. inevitably what happen is that the norm fixed that the child should be six years of age in the standard 1st is violated,” it said.
The petition alleged that the private schools are taken over by the profiteering and commercial motives and want to make quick bucks as soon as possible and in the process they do not pay heed as to what is good for overall development of the children.
The important matter crying for consideration is that schools conduct interaction with parents and children prior to the admission and purportedly claim to follow merit in the grant of admission, read the petition.
Taking the petition into consideration, a division bench issued notice to Principal Secretary to Prime Minister of India and other high ranking officials of the central and union territory administration besides the private schools operating in J&K.