Thursday, March 15, 2012

Introduce 2 yrs Pre-Primary Education in all State-run schools in terms of S.11 RTE Act,2009

Smt. Sheila Dikshit,
Hon’ble Chief Minister,
Government of NCT of Delhi,
Delhi Secretariat, I.P.Estate,
New Delhi-110002
15 March 2012

Sub: Introduce two years of pre-primary (Pre-Primary & Pre-School) education as a part & parcel of the formal school in all Govt. & Local Bodies run schools in terms of Section 11 of RTE Act, 2009

My Dear Chief Minister,

We invite your attention to Section 11 of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 which reads as under:-

“11. Appropriate Government to provide pre-school education – With a view to prepare children above the age of three years for elementary education and to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years, the appropriate Government may make necessary arrangement for providing free pre-school education for such children.”

It is submitted that a Division Bench of Hon’ble Delhi High Court headed by Hon’ble The Acting Chief Justice A.K.Sikri in its judgment dated 27.01.2012 in W.P. (C) 7802 of 2011 entitled Social Jurist, A Civil Rights Group vs. Govt. of NCT of Delhi and another has dealt in detail with the above mentioned Section 11 of the RTE Act, 2009.
It is submitted that in the above said judgment, the Hon’ble Judges in para 31 amongst others observed,

“(ii) Every child has a right to ECCE of equitable quality and when ECCE is treated as first step in educational ladder and as a part of Education for All (EFA), the Government as well as schools have responsibility for all programmes for children of 3+ age as well, which is integral part of ECCE.
(vii) Even for ensuring that there are no drop outs when the formal learning starts, the continuum from Pre-school to Pre-Primary and higher level becomes essential. This is
recognized by the Right to Education Act as well as mandate is particularly incorporated in Section 11 and Section 12 thereof which lay emphasis on “inclusive elementary to all.”

It would also be worthwhile to submit that in the above judgment, the Hon’ble Judges in para 11 noted the submissions of the learned counsel appearing for the Government of NCT of Delhi. A relevant extract thereof is reproduced as under:

“Early childhood development includes two main aspects, i.e. care and education. Therefore the pace of development at the early childhood was of paramount importance. Her submission was that due care needs to be given to the children at this stage and that is a component of ‘education’. It includes Pre School education programme aimed at 3-6 years old. Thus, the Pre School education can start from the age of 3 years was her submission. Her arguments were that Delhi School Education Act does not prescribe any minimum age for pre schooling. On the other hand, RTE Act had changed the entire complexion as it was of the Government now to take care of children of this age as well.”

By reading the provisions of Section 11 of RTE Act, 2009 as interpreted by the Hon’ble Judges in the above mentioned judgment, the message is loud and clear that the Government is duty bound to provide pre-school education to all the children of 3+ age through State-run regular full-time formal schools. It is also necessary in order to bring uniformity in education system as most of the unaided private schools begin education at pre-school level where child at 3+ age is admitted.
At present, the schools run by the Government of NCT of Delhi and Local Bodies like MCD, NDMC and Delhi Cantonment Board do not have pre-school classes. Most of these schools even do not have pre-primary classes. It is submitted that opening of 2 years pre-primary (Pre-Primary & Pre-School) classes in the all the State & Local Bodies run schools as a part and parcel of full time formal school would not only be in compliance of the provisions of Section 11 of RTE Act, 2009 but would greatly benefit the children of the masses.

Therefore, it is requested that 2 years pre-primary (Pre-Primary & Pre-School) classes in the all the State & Local Bodies run schools as a part and parcel of full time formal school be opened from the coming academic year 2012-13 where children above the age of 3 years would receive equitable ECCE.
With regards,

Ashok Agarwal, Advocate
Advisor, Social Jurist


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