Plans afoot to make 2,000 playschools functional from April
Having made an announcement to run 4,000 playschools in the state during the recently concluded budget session, the Haryana government is gearing up to start at least half of them from next month and remaining ones in September.
Till now, there were no playschools in Haryana. Of about 14,000 schools in the state, 8,600 are primary, 2,800 middle, 1,600 high and about 2,100 senior secondary, where 98,000 teachers teach 20.8 lakh students.
Importantly enough, it was only about a couple of months back that the government had planed to shut 1,016 schools where the total strength of students was less than 25.
The issue assumed significance as senior Congress MLA Geeta Bhukkal, who herself was education minister in the previous Congress regime, raised questions during the budget session on the government’s move to run 4,000 playschools for children in the age group of three to six.
Suspecting ambiguity in government’s plans, Bhukkal asked the education minister where would these schools be opened and who would run those?
She also suspected that the government might double up anganwadis as playschools run by anganwadi workers and helpers.
There are about 24,000 anganwadis with around 50,000 workers. Bhukkal also pointed out that any such move by the government would fail the very purpose of both anganwadi and playschools, which were two different entities.
However, as per senior officials, there was no ambiguity in the plan as per which, one such proposed playschool would be set up at the primary schools in about 900 mahagrams (villages with over 10,000 population), 945 urban schools and 423 primary schools wherein Class 1 and 2 have already been made English-medium and bag-free. They said the remaining playschools (about 1,700) will be set up in the rural areas, where intake in Class 1 has gone alarmingly down.
Education department secretary P Amneet Kumar said that a policy in this context was being finalised. She specified that these schools would be run from government schools by adding one more section with a focus on preschool education inclusive of vibrant infrastructure and specially trained teachers.
She said it would be government’s focus to maintain these preschools as activity-based and English-medium and the footfall at these playschools would encourage the overall enrolment in the government schools.