This could well be a KBC question. Which Government organization has put up guidelines for regulating private play schools in India? The options are NCERT, CBSE, Ministry of Education, NCPCR. Surprise, surprise, the answer is NCPCR. An obscure organization – the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights has published regulatory guidelines for private play schools in India.
NCPCR comes under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and not the Ministry of Education, as one might think. It does not matter though. The general refrain would be that whoever comes up with regulatory guidelines for private play schools in India is fine, as long as they are sensible and delivers for the sake of the children.
Just that, they do not deliver. And, they are also nowhere closer to being the guidelines apart from the name. The guidelines for regulating private play schools in India are outright dud – inept and feckless. Wonder if any play schools or parents are even aware of these so-called guidelines. Not to worry, they won’t miss out on anything significant. That itself is the biggest worry though.
Here are some gems from the regulatory guidelines for private play schools in India:
Anonymous And Undated Document
This is extremely odd and unusual. The Government guidelines are notorious to carry the umpteen names of the officials and their designations who are involved in the drafting and the publishing of the document. There will be 10 different pages of message from the honourable minister, secretary, foreword, development team, acknowledgement etc enough to make a reader stop reading further.
In this particular guideline – there are no names. The Government officials, prone to show their designations and powers, are conspicuous by their absence. Even more weird is that the document is undated. Apart from NCPCR, there is no knowing that this is a Government guideline. It looks like the Government officers knew the shabby job they have done and do not want to be associated with it.
Even this would have been fine if the guidelines would serve the intended purpose. But!!!
Lots And Lots Of Authority But Not Children
The guidelines mention various types of authority – competent being the dominant variant. We are introduced to local, appellate, academic and also the plain vanilla type – only mentioned as the authority. The word “authority” features 46 times in the document. Comparatively, the word “children” comes up 31 times in the guidelines.
This gives the flavour of what’s in focus for the guideline. It is not the children that matter, but the show-off of the all-important “authority”. What is a Government guideline that bears the interest of the subject but not the powers of “authority”? The children have no chance to show up in front of the mighty Government authority.
Even this would have been fine if the authority was sensible enough and put to good effect. But!!!
Where Does The ICDS Come From?
The competent authority is the ICDS officer. Now, from where does ICDS parachutes into the play school regulation? ICDS is the Integrated Child Development Services, launched way back in 1975. ICDS is responsible for Anganwadi, which is where no child should ever be and never actually is, apart from collecting the free food. Anganwadi themselves are a sham, devoid of any regulation.
The Government officers who put up a charade of working for a child’s good and make a complete hash out of it are responsible to regulate play schools!!! This actually would be a well-guarded secret. Not just parents, the play schools too won’t be aware of this. I doubt if even the ICDS officials would know that they are entrusted to regulate play schools.
Even this would have been fine if the guidelines were good to go with. But!!!
The Non-Existent Guidelines
What should be the play school area for the given number of children? What should be the size of the outdoor play area? How much investment is required? What should be training/qualifications for teachers/caregivers? What’s the reference point for equipments, books, toys and other elements? The guidelines offer no answer for the above questions or for that matter, any of the questions.
Sample this. The curriculum will be laid down by the authority (can’t have enough of them) specified by MWCD, GoI with the first objective as conformity with the values enshrined in the Constitution. So, going by this, the NCERT preschool curriculum is null and void (it is a different matter that on its own too, it deserves the same treatment).
If a play school does want to follow the regulatory guidelines, there are none reasonable to follow.
And, this is not fine.
The Saga Continues
The Government’s vain efforts go nowhere to regulate the play schools. The parents pack off their kids to unregulated play schools with unfounded hope. The children miss out on their childhood, not even getting to know the fun and the play of being a child. The play schools flourish with zero accountability to gullible parents and clueless Government with the kids’ lost childhood as casualties.
The saga of letting down the child continues. The current example is the dud NCPCR regulatory guidelines for private play schools in India.
What are your thoughts on the subject?
PS: I am a stay-at-home father to six-year-old twin daughters, neither an educationist nor an expert, just growing up together with my children. The above thoughts are an expression of parenting is having an opinion, getting involved and trying to better.