Play schools in Haryana, including Gurgaon, which hitherto have been functioning without any regulation will now have to register with district women and child department. The move came after National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) issued guidelines in December to the state.
Presently, there are around 500 privately run play schools in the city, which are not regulated and monitored by any of the state agencies.
It is a major step by the NCPCR to bring in inclusiveness and uniformity in all educational institutions providing pre-school education. It is based on the spirit to the Right of Children to (Free & Compulsory) Education Act, 2009, and National Early Childhood Care and Education Policy, 2013.
With the new notification, the registration of any play school found admitting children below the age of three will be cancelled with immediate effect, NCPCR officials said.
“The guideline was prepared after we received several complaints under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. There was no fee structure and guidelines for the play school to operate. The children aged below three were taught alphabets, which amounts to mental harassment of children of such tender age. We are the monitoring agency and we have issued the guidelines to the WCD department and they will notify the directions to the state,” said Priyank Kanoongo, member, education, NCPCR.
Play schools have to get registered within six months of the directions issued by the Centre. In Gurgaon, programme officer, Integrated Child Development Services(ICDS), will be in-charge of the process of registration and inspection.
Haryana Women and Child department(WCD) will soon send the notification regarding the same to the district child protection units(DCPU), the officials said.
DCPU has started preparing the plan to act on the guidelines. They will soon start preparing a list of play schools operating in the city.
A committee will soon be formed, which will conduct an inspection of all private-run play schools in the city, and a list will be prepared based on the NCPCR guidelines.
“We will soon form a committee, which will have members from DCPU and one official from the police department. Once we receive the notification from the state, we will start the ground work,” Sunita Sharma, district programme officer, women and child department, Gurgaon, said.
The NCPCR has issued guidelines to ensure the children who are admitted to the play school by parents, mostly working professionals, are not below the age of three.
Another major aspect of the guideline is that, from now, all play schools need to conduct proper scrutiny of staff, including a police verification, before recruitment. This is in the wake of several reported incidents of child abuse at play schools.
“Children shall not be subjected to physical, mental or sexual harassment in play schools. A norm has been set by the NCPCR to avoid such exploitation of children,” Sharma said.