"Ideally no formal school should have pre-school as the needs of early years are much different that require a holistic and integrated lifestyle approach. Putting 4 to 6-year-olds in school would lead to schoolification/ formalization of education in the early years," an affidavit by the ministry of women and child development said. The affidavit also cites the Right To Education Act to emphasize that the ministry is "not in favour of admission of children in formal schools prior to Class 1 as early childhood is a very sensitive and impressionable stage that needs a different approach."
The response came on a petition filed by NGO Social Jurist through advocates Ashok Agarwal and Khagesh Jha seeking directions to the Delhi government and local authorities to start two years of pre-primary (pre-primary & pre-school) classes in their schools and not to deny admission to children of 3+ age in pre-school and 4+ age in pre-primary classes.
HC had earlier issued notices to the ministry of women and child development, Delhi government, municipal corporation of Delhi & ministry of human resource development. The petition argues that in terms of Section 11 of RTE Act, 2009, the government and the municipal agencies are obliged to start 2 years of pre-primary classes in all their formal schools.
"There is a need to have uniform system of education both in state run and private run schools. In the present case, almost all private schools have two years of pre- primary classes where children 3+ years of age are admitted in pre- school but in case of state run schools, no such provisions are yet there. The children of poorer families are in dire need of schooling beginning at the early age of 3 years as their parents go out for livelihood," the petition had argued.