Despite several incidents of sexual abuse in preschools being reported recently, a policy on regulating the preschool sector has not yet been formulated.
Under the Mumbai Primary Education Act, 1949, pre-primary schools are not under the purview of the state government or the civic authority. They are thus not recognised by any authority.
Recommendations on such a policy were submitted by an expert committee headed by the minister of state for school education Fauziya Khan in August last year.
These included mechanisms such as close monitoring of the admission processes in preschools, developing a well-defined curriculum for early childhood education, standardising teacher training and regulating fees among others. But the state government is yet to review the suggestions.
"It will take time to formulate this policy. It is a time-consuming process and cannot be expected before next year," said a senior education official.
"Parents are being exploited by the lack of government regulation in the sector, but their complaints have not been taken up by the education department. The government needs to show more urgency about the policy," said Jayant Jain, president of the Forum For Fairness in Education.
Similarly, an association of preschools, Early Childhood Association, has written to the government on the need for putting in place stricter standards for preschool teachers. "Preschool education is nobody's baby right now. A regulation is needed to bring about accountability and transparency in the sector," said Swati Popat Vats, president of Podar Education Network.