Many pre-schools unlikely to reopen on Nov. 8


While some owners are battling staff shortage, others who had shut down operations are looking for new premises

While the State Government has given permission for pre-schools to reopen on Monday, a majority are unlikely to do so immediately. Managements said they will need a few more days to open their doors to children. While some will use the time to clean and sanitise their premises, others, who were operating out of rented spaces but shut down operations and ended the lease, are hunting for new premises to restart.

Pruthvi Banwasi, secretary, Karnataka Council of Preschools, said many of the centres had packed and kept their material in godowns. “They gave up their rented premises and will now have to find a new place to set up their activities before starting offline classes,” he said. He added that these pre-schools will continue with online classes till they are able to make arrangements to reopen physically.

One pre-school owner said that staffing is also a problem. “Teachers and centre heads had quit their jobs during the pandemic when they were not paid salaries or were asked to take hefty cuts. Now, owners are scrambling to hire qualified staff,” he said.

Enquiries from parents

According to Mr. Banwasi, the Council has been receiving enquiries for admissions after the State Government announced that pre-schools could resume operations. He, however, said most enquiries are from working parents.

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“Families with good support systems are not keen to send their children for offline peer group activities,” he said.

Bengaluru-based Greeshma S., whose daughter studies in kindergarten, is glad that pre-schools are reopening as she had resumed reporting to her workplace physically.

“I had to depend on my father to come and spend time with my daughter when she sat for her online classes. Although I have a nanny, she was unable to help her with the classes. I am glad that my daughter will go to pre-school and I hope she will be able to grasp things faster,” she said.

Anganwadis too, which are gearing up to reopen on Monday, are facing problems. Anganwadi workers and helpers point out that they do not have adequate space and will be unable to follow physical distance at their centres.

‘Little time to focus’

Anganwadis are currently allowed to operate for two hours till further notice. S. Varalakshmi, president, Karnataka Rajya Anganwadi Naukarara Sangha, said although they are allowed to reopen, anganwadi workers are roped in from several other activities and programmes. “This leaves them with very little time to focus on children and ensure that all SOPs are followed,” she said.



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Sagar Biswas

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