No formal education for children below 6: Sibal

New Delhi: Noting that he was against putting pressure on students at the kindergarten level, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal today said the Centre can bring a concrete policy on the issue if Parliament passes a resolution. In reply to several supplementaries in the Lok Sabha during Question Hour, Sibal said a resolution by Parliament will ensure that the state governments do not protest a central policy on the subject.

"You pass the resolution and I will move ahead," Sibal said. He said he was against small children carrying bulky school bags, learning the alphabets and tables and said at that age, they should be playing. Sibal favoured that children below six should not be given formal education and pointed that many state governments were allowing admission of students at the age of five.

To a question on shortcomings noticed in 44 deemed universities, he said the matter was before the Supreme Court and the government will move ahead after its directions. He assured the House that interests of students of these universities will be protected. On punishing officials responsible for granting these universities deemed status, he said the question was not to punish anyone but to protect the future of the students, leaving several members dissatisfied with the reply.

Answering a question on model schools, Sibal said the centrally sponsored scheme to set up 6,000 model schools at block level was launched in November, 2008. Of these, 3,500 schools are to be st up by states in educationally backward blocks and 2,500 schools were to be set up in the private- public partnership mode in blocks which are not educationally backward. 438 model schools have become functional in seven states so far.