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Pre-primary takes off in govt schools, 32K more enrolled 

Chandigarh, January 6

As many as 32,903 children, aged between three and six years, have enrolled for pre-primary classes in government schools in the state. The admission process had commenced on December 18 last year and there is no cut-off date.

The figure does not include more than one lakh students already attending pre-primary classes in 12,955 schools of the state since November 2017.

After a series of protests in the past one year, anganwadi workers have finally given up their demand of taking care of pre-primary schoolchildren. The role has been taken over by the Education Department. 

Except participation in certain school activities, the anganwadis have settled down in their primary work of supplementary nutrition, immunisation, health check-ups, referral services, nutrition and health education for mothers/pregnant women, nursing mothers and to adolescent girls.

President of the All-Punjab Anganwadi Helpers and Workers Union Hargobind Kaur said, “We were assured that except one-hour class for pre-primary schoolchildren, they will be kept under the watch of anganwadi workers. The system did not work out, so we have stopped attending classes in primary schools. We have 27,656 anganwadis who are concentrating on other programmes, which are largely related to the health of mothers.”

While the department does not have a special cadre for pre-primary school teaching, more than 24,000 primary school teachers are undergoing regular classes under the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) programmes to upgrade their knowledge being provided under special training programmes. More than 20 books have been prepared for the job.

Education Guarantee Scheme (EGS) volunteers have sought that they be designated as regular teachers. A senior officer said, “We cannot designate them as teachers for pre-primary school education, as they are not specially trained for the job. We have surplus primary school teachers who have taken up the job of pre-school teaching effectively. In case of student rush, we will have to take a decision at the higher level.”

School timings cut by an hour

  • Chandigarh: The Education Department has reduced the school timings for primary, middle and senior secondary schools by an hour. 
  • As per the modified orders, timings for all primary schools would be from 10 am to 3 am and for middle and senior secondary schools 10 am to 3.30 pm. 
  • An official said: “In the wake of cold weather conditions, the department had recently changed the school timings (10 am to 4 pm) for all classes. Now, the timings have been reduced. This will mean the schools will have seven classes instead of eight.” 
  • He said the department had decided that unless informed otherwise, the schools would revert to the original schedule of 9 am to 3 pm for primary classes and 9 am to 3.20 pm for middle, high and senior secondary from January 16. 

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