Principals of public schools in rural areas of the region have reportedly told the Department of School Education about the possibility of increasing enrollment by starting pre-primary classes.
This has been a major talking point for school management committees that have been activated recently, according to academics.
After the government of Tamil Nadu enacted the first regulatory code for gambling schools in 2018, there was a noticeable decline in the number of autonomous gambling schools run by private entities.
Early childcare, academics point out, is an important requirement for people from lower economic strata since both parents, in very many cases, are the breadwinners.
But, as such, there is no provision for public schools to hold pre-primary classes. Pre-school education according to the Montessori system is only allowed in schools with attached anganwadis. It is therefore common to find parents who admit their children to private kindergartens.
According to an official from the Department of School Education, there is a huge demand for starting pre-primary sections in public schools.
School management committees, according to officials, have also mooted the idea of a self-sufficiency mechanism for the operation of pre-primary sections with the support of philanthropists.
It’s another matter that not all private CBSE and enrollment schools get consent from district education officials to open preschool sections, public school heads point out.
The operation of the preschool sections in private schools deserves special attention because the curriculum prescribes gross motor, fine motor, sensory, cognitive, socio-emotional and linguistic skills for three different age groups at the preschool stage: …children aged two to three years old, LKG – children aged three to four years old, and UKG – children aged four to five years old. But tracking these requirements remains a gray area.
According to the principal of a public school in a rural pocket of the Manapparai block, the draft curriculum needs to be improved with specific guidelines to improve childcare and early learning in public schools and Anganwadis.