03/07/2020 13:26 PM IST
Preschools were considered to be part of the unorganized section of education as years ago, not a lot of importance was given to preschool. However, over the last 2 decades we have seen immense growth in the preschool sector in India - attributed to double income families, well travelled and educated parents who understand the importance of early childhood education and the impact quality preschooling has, on the minds of toddlers in their overall development. Several studies have shown the importance of preschool as they help in laying the right foundation and prepare children better for primary school. With these two factors playing an important role a lot of individuals and organizations started preschools and these have grown into networks of preschools across the country - either individual/family owned preschools or organizations that started offering the 'preschool franchise' opportunity.
While education is an evergreen industry - there is a lot to consider as one is dealing with young minds and young lives. It is crucial to have an inherent passion for children and be ready to invest not just money but also time and effort into the preschool in order to make it successful.
As preschools concern young lives -there are various rules and regulations laid down by the government. Let's look at the most essential ones:
A. State Government have enacted laws like the "Private School Education Acts" which regulate the operations of a school. Therefore, before starting a preschool or school, the Promoters need to know about the State Education Act and play to obtain the relevant registrations.
B. Conventions on Rights of the Child by the United Nations The Conventions on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is a human rights treaty, which lays out the civil, political, economic, social, health, and cultural rights of children. It came into force in 1990 and was ratified by India in 1992. Since all countries that sign the CRC are required to abide by it, many laws concerning children in India fulfil conditions set out by the CRC.
C. The Right to Education Act (RTE) in India The RTE was enacted in 2009 and makes education a fundamental right for children between the ages of 6-14. It lays down certain duties for the government, teachers, schools, and parents. It also covers laws regarding student-teacher ratios and punishment of children. The RTE covers ECCE in Section 11 by stating that the appropriate government should make arrangements to provide free preschool education to children of 3 to 6 years. This would prepare them for primary school as well as ensure their care until they reach the age of 6.
D. National Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy Recognizing that the period between 0 to 6 years is important for child development, the government proposed to lay down specific regulations for this age group. This resulted in the National ECCE Policy in 2013. It aims to ensure that children have access to preschool education and care. It does so by laying down standards for the running of preschools and daycares.
E. Guidelines and Laws for Preschools The policy that governs preschools is Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) Policy implemented in 2013, the NCPCR issued following guidelines for preschools across the country:
F. Establishment of Playschools Most preschools in our country are privately run. All preschools need to register with the district-level nodal officer. The preschool must apply for recognition to the officer. Important points for parents to note are:
.The preschool must have the Recognition Certificate from the Nodal officer
.The nodal certificate needs to be renewed annually.
.The authorities may withdraw this certification at any point if the preschool is found to have used unfair means.
G. There are various laws that the ECCE policy lays down.
Let's look at some of the areas briefly.
1. Laws Governing Staff: According to the ECCE, both teachers and caregivers have key roles to play in a child's development.
2. Laws on Safety: The safety of young children is especially important, and there are several regulations in place to ensure this. Make sure you create an SOP around these laws and that they are followed to the tee.
3. Laws against Physical and Mental Harassment: Children at a young age have an impressionable mind. As an education institute utmost care needs to be taken that the child is not physically or mentally abused. Section 17 of the Right to Education Act (2009) lays out the rules and regulations that need to be followed.
4. Laws on Health: all aspects that are essential to make sure the child is in a healthy atmosphere need to be followed. Like the classrooms should have adequate ventilation, hygiene should be maintained, etc.
5. Laws on Curriculum: Read up the laws laid down on curriculum and teaching methodology to make sure you follow all norms.
6. Formation of Parent-Teacher Association: It is recommended that every preschool should create a Parent-Teacher Association within a month of the admissions every year.