Punjab government schools will enrol children above the age of three years in pre-primary classes from the next academic session. The state Cabinet gave its nod to this proposal on Wednesday. Under the existing rules, government schools could admit children only over the age of six. A government statement said that the move will help ensure holistic and integrated early childhood care and education, and also check the decline in enrolment of children in government schools.
Speaking at the Cabinet meeting held here on Wednesday afternoon, the Chief Minister also suggested improvement in the government school curriculum to help connect the children to their roots. Though Punjab’s child population in the age group of 6-10 years currently stands at 24.47 lakh, enrolment in government schools is a mere 9.6 lakh, with the number declining every year. The decline is attributed to the fact that parents tend to send their wards at an early age — less than six years — to schools, whereas as per RTE Act and as per government policy, children below the age of six years are not admitted in government schools.
Also, concerned over the mushrooming growth of fraudulent financial establishments in the state in the recent past, the Punjab Cabinet has approved the introduction of a fresh Bill in the Vidhan Sabha to protect the interests of depositors against default.
The Cabinet decided to withdraw the Punjab Protection of Interests of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Bill, 2015, which was earlier sent to the Centre for obtaining the assent of President and was pending with the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The move follows complaints received by the state, the RBI and the SEBI against many financial establishments alleged to be indulging in unscrupulous activities to fleece innocent depositors.