'RTE Act doesn’t define outcome of learning'

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SummaryInterview with L V Sehgal — Chairman of the National Progressive Schools Conference & Principal Bal Bharati School, Ganga Ram Hospital Marg.

Laksha Vir Sehgal grew up in Kapurthala where he went to school and later became a teacher at the local Sainik School. He became principal at a school in Chandigarh where he spent eight years.

Besides teaching Physics, in which he holds a Masters degree from Punjab University in Patiala, Sehgal is also trained in preparing schoolchildren for the NCC. He is also a basketball coach.

For the last 13 years he has been the principal at Bal Bharati School, guiding it across the many changes that school education has seen in the past decade.

He is also a member of various CBSE committees including the committee of courses in science and the curriculum committee.

Tell us about the school and what values are integral to it?

The school has won the international school award twice and our focus is on leadership among children. We have been trying to provide students the opportunities for them to develop their strengths based on their abilities. The school has various clubs that boost this. There are some unusual clubs like, heritage, astronomy and robotics. We also teach them to be sensitive to the needs of society. They have to realise their responsibility towards society.

The nursery admission season is in full swing. Has the school faced any hiccups?

The system is not foolproof but we focus on transparency. There are way too many people applying than we have seats. We focus on the criteria for admission passed by the management committee. Parents should be able to understand the criteria. Transparency is important.

Age limit is an issue. We feel that children in the age group of three to four years should go to nursery so that there is uniformity of age in higher education. Upper age limit is not fixed. Thus, anyone from three to five years can join nursery. This is a wider gap that can be an issue in higher classes. The RTE speaks of age-appropriate class. Therefore, three to four years is for nursery, four to five is for pre-primary, and five to six if for Class I.

We feel that age of admission should be between 3.5 and 4.5 years, which is how it was before the RTE came into effect. The new lower age limit is a result of certain petitions in court. I personally believe that formal schooling should start when he/she is mentally and physically fit for it. No matter how stress-free the school tries

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