Punjab Government to regulate private play schools, fees, student strength

The Punjab Government has notified the NCPCR guidelines. The state government can now regulate fees charged by private play schools.

Punjab Government to regulate private play schools, fees, student strength Punjab Government will now regulate private play schools (source: Shutterstock)
Atul Krishna | Aug 13, 2021 - 1:32 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The Punjab Government has notified regulatory guidelines for private play schools in the state following a complaint by a parent to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The state government will recognise private play schools, control the fees they charge and hear complaints against them via the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR).

The central child rights body, NCPCR, had developed regulatory guidelines for private play schools in 2017 with an aim to bring uniformity in private pre-school education for the children in the age group of three to six.

In March 2017, the government had announced that all private play schools will have to register with the government as per the NCPCR guidelines. However, it had not notified the entire guidelines.

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Following a complaint from a parent, the NCPCR wrote to the Punjab Government in May 2020. The Punjab Government notified the guidelines on July 16, 2021 which was signed by the concerned officials on July 30 .

The guidelines enumerate standards for setting up infrastructure, libraries, employing staff, minimum teaching hours, ensuring health facilities, etc.

According to the NCPCR guidelines, children below the age of three cannot be admitted into a play school. The Punjab Government will also regulate the fees charged by the private play schools. The fee can only be collected either monthly or quarterly.

Play schools should also ensure a child-to-teacher ratio of 1:20 and a child-to-caregiver ratio of 1:20. The schools are also required to constitute a parent teacher association. The guidelines also prohibit physical punishment and mental harassment of the children.

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In the new guidelines, new private play schools that are set up at least six months from the notifications of the guidelines, will have to apply for recognition with the government.

Play schools that have been established prior to the guidelines should take steps to fulfill the norms within six months. Play schools are also required to renew recognition certificates every year.

Play schools will also have to get permission from the government before closing so that students can be shifted to a new play school to “ensure continuity of the session”.

The NCPCR and the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) in Punjab will have the responsibility of reviewing the play schools and ensuring that guidelines are followed. The NCPCR and SCPCR will also be the official body in charge of grievances.

The department of social security and women and child development will be the competent authority that will be responsible for the private play schools.

The department will also publish a list of all recognised play schools.

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