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CPI calls for nursery classes

Calcutta, Feb. 28: A CPI-affiliated teachers’ organisation today demanded the immediate implementation of its proposal to introduce nursery classes in state-aided primary schools.

The Bengal Primary Teachers’ Association believes that such classes for children between three and five years will to a large extent check the dropout rate in Class I. Association general-secretary Sudhangshu Pal raised the demand at the organisation’s recently-concluded annual conference.

“Several surveys on school dropouts conducted by the government have revealed (that) 50 per cent of pupils in state-funded primary schools discontinue studies before or after completing class I,” Pal said.

According to the association, a bulk of Class I students of primary schools, especially those from financially backward families, fail to cope with studies as their parents cannot afford to send them to private preparatory schools.

Nearly 30 lakh students are enrolled in Class I in the 60,000 primary schools across Bengal. The total enrolment in class II, however, slumps to 15 lakh because of the high dropout in the previous class.

In the existing system, there is no arrangement for nursery classes for children below five years in any of the 60,000 schools. Only children above five years are now permitted to directly seek admission to class I in state-aided primary schools.

“The parents of nearly 70 per cent pupils who study in primary schools in the districts are poor and cannot keep private tutors for preliminary coaching to their wards before they seek admission to Class I,” Pal said.

School education minister Kanti Biswas said at the conference the state had agreed in principle to the proposal, but lack of funds had tied its hands.

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