WCD seeks clarity as 400 playschools await registration in Gurugram
Following a Right to Information (RTI) complaint filed by activist Aseem Takyar in March this year about the presence of unregistered playschools in the district, the Gurugram women and child development department (WCD) has written to the head office in Panchkula seeking clarity on which of the guidelines laid down by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) be followed by playschools to obtain a registration.
The WCD department fears that if it enforces all the recommended guidelines, then none of the playschools in the district will get a registration to operate.
As per the district WCD department, there are more than 400 playschools operating in the city that are yet to be registered. The total number of playschools may be greater, officials said.
The department sought guidance on the registration process after the WCD headquarter questioned, in response to the RTI query, why it had failed to regulate playschools in the district as per NCPCR guidelines.
These guidelines include specifications on aspects such as the number of teaching hours, age limit of students, number of staff, infrastructure, library and health facilities, teaching and learning aids, and instructional hours, among others.
In its letter to the head office in Panchkula, the district WCD department, on Monday, asked whether the regulation of playschools had to be done by the education department or the WCD, since there are no separate guidelines issued by state government, as is directed by the national panel for child rights.
WCD district programme officer Sunaina Khatri said that in the absence of state-specific guidelines, playschools can’t be shut down abruptly, until the state government has clearly defined the parameters on which the process of registration ought to be conducted.
As per the NCPCR guidelines, a private playschool seeking recognition has to give a processing fee prescribed by the appropriate government.
Additionally, the guidelines state that the fee charged by the playschool must be regulated by the appropriate government and can only be collected on a monthly or quarterly basis.
“The guidelines are very broad, and details need to be defined for implementation. The state government is supposed to prescribe the fee charged and the exact amount has to be defined by the department,” Khatri said, adding that another important concern was the age limit of children going to these playschools.
“We are waiting for the state government to define the framework of operation. Till then, closing unregistered playschools doesn’t make sense,” she said.
Earlier in April, PK Das, additional chief secretary of Haryana school education department, said the department would carry out an awareness campaign and ensure that playschools are registered before the admissions for the next academic session, i.e, 2020-2021.