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Posted at: Nov 15, 2017, 1:40 AM; last updated: Nov 15, 2017, 1:40 AM (IST)

Pre-primary launched amid teething troubles

Enrolments encouraging, but no study material, meals for kids

Won’t shut centres: Minister

  • Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary has made it clear that the anganwari workers need not worry as their future and jobs are secured. Their services will be utilised to the maximum extent to strengthen the initiative, she says.
Pre-primary launched amid teething troubles
Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary offers sweets to a child after the launch of pre-primary classes at Government Elementary School in Mohali on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Vicky Gharu

Sanjeev Singh Bariana

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 14

Pre-primary classes in a majority of the nearly 12,500 primary government schools in the state today got off to a slow start. Around 1.5 lakh children in the age group of 3-6 have already been enrolled under the “Khed Mahal” project, even as the admission process will continue till November 30.

The pre-primary classes will be of three-hour duration. Those in the age group of 3-4 years are being enrolled in nursery, 4-5 years in LKG and 5-6 years in UKG. No fee or other expenses will be charged from the parents.

Formally launching the project in Mohali, Education Minister Aruna Chaudhary said: “Punjab has become the first state in the country to initiate pre-school education in government schools. It will result in the strengthening of physical, intellectual as well as the creative faculties of the children.”

Insufficient number of teachers in a large number of schools, no planned education pattern and even inadequate sitting plan presented a mixed picture on day 1. The Education Department has not even provided Rs 1,500 per school to buy the required study material.

Bhupinder Kaur, DEO, Amritsar, said: “A copy of the syllabus shall be sent to schools in a few days. We will ensure that education is provided in English as well as Punjabi medium.”

The otherwise appreciable step saw the schools spending making arrangements for toys and games to keep the toddlers busy. Senior children were surprised to see the new entrants. A primary school at Kabir Nagar, Jalandhar, welcomed its eight new students with balloons.

A schoolteacher in Amritsar district said: “In the absence of arrangements, we were caught in an embarrassing situation when pre-primary kids asked for food seeing their elders from primary classes having meals.”

Children who were earlier going to anganwaris were being fed under a centrally-sponsored scheme. Anganwari workers are on the warpath against the shifting of children to schools. The state has 26,656 anganwaris with 3.2 lakh students. Though the government has assured that anganwaris will not be closed, the issue still hangs fire.

Anganwari workers observe ‘black day’

Abohar: Sporting black dupattas and carrying black flags, members of the Anganwari Workers Union observed the Children's Day as "black day" to protest the start of pre-primary classes in government schools. Block president Anju Bishnoi resented that a meeting fixed with the CM was cancelled for fourth time. "We will wait for the notification, to be issued on the basis of talks held with the Education Minister, for a fortnight before deciding the next course of action, she said. OC

Sangrur: Anganwari workers held a protest in front of the District Education Office, Primary. They announced to intensify their agitation if the government failed to rollback the order. "The government has forcibly implemented the decision. There is no one in schools to take care of small children," said Parmjit Kaur, district president. TNS

Muktsar: Activists of the All Punjab Anganwari Employees’ Union lodged a protest here. Hargobind Kaur, president of the union, said: "We will not allow the shifting of children from anganwari centres. If the state failed to take a favourable decision, we will intensify our stir.” TNS


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