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Punjab govt launches pre-primary classes in state-run schools

Punjab education minister Aruna Chaudhary said that this will help in strengthening physical, intellectual and creative faculties among children.

punjab Updated: Nov 14, 2017 20:21 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mohali/Mansa
Punjab news,punjab govt schools,Aruna Chaudhary
Punjab education minister Aruna Chaudhary launching the initiative at a government elementary school in Mohali on Tuesday.(HT Photo)

The Punjab government on Monday started nursery and kindergarten classes in all state-run primary schools for children in the age group of 3 to 6 years.

Launching the programme at a government elementary school in Mohali on the occasion of the Children’s Day, education minister Aruna Chaudhary said the duration of the classes will be three hours and everything will be free of cost.

“This will help in strengthening physical, intellectual and creative faculties among children,” she said.

Addressing concerns of anganwadi workers in this regard, the minister said, “Anganwadi workers need not worry about their jobs. Their jobs will be intact. In fact, their services will be utilised to give an impetus to the initiative.”

Meanwhile, officials said as many as 1.5 lakh students have been admitted in the 12,500 schools across Punjab. The admission will continue till November 30.

In Malwa, the registration of students for the pre-primary classes kicked off across the region. As per the official instructions, schools had to get the classrooms decked up, organise cultural programmes, special information counters, and other activities to ensure the participation of maximum students in the programme.

Tiny tots started arriving with their parents at schools early morning and were given warm welcome by the teachers.

HASTY, ILL-PLANNED MOVE, SAY TEACHERS

However, most of the teachers who interacted with HT, termed it as a hasty and ill-planned move.

“Though in the long-term, this move may bring good results, but its ill-planned implementation at this stage has put a financial burden on teachers,” said Hardeep Singh, a teacher with the government primary school at Kalhon village in Mansa.

The teachers also raised the issue of staff crunch and lack of funds needed to run the scheme.

“We were asked to manage toys and other items of recreation for the students for which we have paid from our own pockets,” said Bikkar Singh, a teacher with the government primary school at Mansa Khurd village.

“There are many schools in the district which are already running short of staff. The enrollment of new students is expected to rise and then it will be tough for us to manage them,” said Lakshman Singh, a teacher of the government school in Barnala.

School teachers also expressed their reservation over the nursing of tiny tots.

“We have been trained to teach students over the age of 6 years. It will be another challenge to entertain kids who were not even willing to enter the school on their first day,” said Gurmeet Dhawan, based in Fazilka.

Meanwhile, Fazilka deputy commissioner (DC) Isha Kalia said the enrollment was very successful with parents and teachers participating in it enthusiastically.

ANGANWADI WORKERS OBSERVE ‘BLACK DAY’

Meanwhile, anganwadi workers observed ‘black day’ in protest against enrollment of pre-nursery students in government schools.

In Muktsar, All Punjab Anganwadi Employment Union chief Hargobind Kaur said, “It is a black day for us. We will lose our jobs with this ill-planned move of the government.”

In Mansa, protesting union leaders threatened to court arrest on Wednesday.

(The story has been updated)

First Published: Nov 14, 2017 18:54 IST