At a Task Force meeting to chart out steps to implement the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, functionaries also mulled over the possibility of bringing kindergartens within the purview of the Fee Regulatory Committee. The NEP has proposed a 5+3+3+4 education model onwards June. So far, the kindergartens were excluded from the FRC’s scanner.
Members of the Task Force, including senior officials and ministers from the education and social welfare departments, reportedly discussed means to bring kindergarten under formal education.
According to Bhaskar Patel, member, Gujarat State School Management Association: “A suggestion was floated to bring kindergarten under the purview of the FRC for schools. However, it met with some opposition given that pre-schools provide livelihood to several women in urban and semi-urban areas. Bringing all of them under purview of FRC, due to a handful of high-charging pre-schools, would be unfair.” He added that a majority of schools in urban areas already have kindergartens under the purview of FRC. A parent, however, said pre-schools have become means of minting money rather than providing education. “It’s a fact that some of the pre-schools charge fees that are higher than class 1-5. The state government should stop this. If schools are under FRC, then why not pre-schools?” asked a parent.
Under the NEP 2020, students will start formal schooling by with the first five years in the foundation stage, three years in preparatory, three years in middle and 4 years in the secondary stage.
The foundation will comprise three years of pre-school, followed by two years of primary (class 1 and 2). The objective is to focus on language development of students via activity-based education, said officials.
The meeting deliberated over allowing schools in semi-urban and rural areas to start kindergarten after a nod from district educational officers. “It was also discussed to give KG teachers time of three years to get certified training from GCERT,” said an official who attended the meeting.
While acknowledging that the FRC matter was discussed, secretary, Primary and Secondary Education, Vinod Rao, clarified that “it was not on agenda of Monday’s meeting.”