Three-year-old Aarushi Arora’s life-long anguish of having a deformed finger because of a playschool accident will ensure safer and regulated kindergartens all over the country.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has formulated draft guidelines for regulating playschools, after Aarushi’s mother Dr Rashmi Tiwari complained of no safety protocol for children in kindergartens.
The NCPCR will ask the state governments to register all playschools like primary schools and ensure that maids employed are trained for the job. A grievance redressal system for parents is another feature of the guidelines.
The states should also have norms on teacher-children ratio for playschools. “We have found that there is only one teacher for 30 to 40 kids. It is not humanely possible for one teacher to look after some toddlers. There should be at least one teacher or maid for 10 kids,” said Sandhaya Bajaj, a NCPCR member.
The commission said state governments should have safety protocols, learning methodologies and play tools clearly spelt out for kids. “Latch doors, which deformed fingers was Aarushi, should not be there in playschools,” Bajaj said.
On August 13, 2007, Aarushi’s fingers got crushed in a door at Mother's Pride playschool in Noida. “Although her finger was saved after series of operations she will have to live with a deformity. My normal born child is now disabled,” Tiwari told HT.
She then wrote to NCPCR asking for a national debate on the issue and guidelines for safety of children in playschools. Her efforts have finally bore fruit.
“Playschools have mushroomed all over without any regulation. Hefty fees are charged without any uniformity in the facilities which needs to be corrected,” said Bajaj.