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Just an hour of homework - at age three

INDIA. Three-year-olds are carrying up to 11 textbooks in their school bags and do at least one hour's homework a night, a report for India's national council for Education and Research Training has found.

While primary schools across the country are debating how to reduce the academic burden on children, middle-class parents are demanding more homework for pre-school infants.

"I am very depressed with the findings," said NCERT director JS Rajput.

"They expect the school authorities to teach them the 3Rs and most of them have the skills of children in class I or II (of formal school)."

The NCERT has been suggesting a change in approach and a reduction in the curriculum load in pre-school, which should focus more on developing skills of identification, comparison, matching and drawing.

But ambitious parents frequently insist that pre-schools give their children a formal education to prepare them for admissions tests in English and maths for good schools.

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