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Pre-primary in central schools

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By CHARU SUDAN KASTURI
  • Published 25.01.10
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New Delhi, Jan. 24: Kendriya Vidyalayas may soon start pre-primary classes and automatically absorb these students into formal schooling, meeting a demand government employees have raised for decades.

The board of governors of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), which governs the central schools, has decided to start pre-primary classes and asked officials to draft a road map to implement the plan.

The KVs are the largest chain of public schools with over 1,000 institutions across the country and some at embassies abroad.

Over a million students study in the institutions, which give preference in admissions to the wards of central government officials, especially those with transferable jobs.

State government officials and the general public follow central government employees in the order of preference for admissions.

However, the schools have never had pre-primary schooling as part of their policy, and have started classes from the first standard.

The KVS, an autonomous organisation under the human resource development (HRD) ministry, has received repeated requests from government officials to start pre-primary classes.

“The thrust of most of the requests was that the absence of pre-primary classes was problematic for all those posted outside major cities. It is only in such cities that childcare facilities are easily available,” an official said.

In 2000, the government started a scheme of allowing 50 KVs to start pre-primary classes. But the classes had to be self-financing — the schools had to charge higher fees than normally sought as the government would not fund or even subsidise these classes.

Other KVs were also encouraged later to start pre-primary classes but these still had to be self-financed. “The idea never really took off,” the official said.

At its last meeting on December 14, 2009, the board of governors, headed by HRD minister Kapil Sibal, decided to include pre-primary schooling into the formal mandate of the schools.

At present, even schools that run self-financing nursery classes have to conduct fresh admissions to Class I. But now, pre-primary students at KVs will be integrated into formal schooling, according to the minutes of the board’s meeting.