Parents unhappy as schools enforce 6 years norm for class 1 admissions

Education Governance Karnataka National politics Top Story Uncategorized

By Sneha TS

Parents are unhappy about some schools implementing the rule that only children six years old or more should be admitted to class 1 from academic year 2023-24.

Though the Karnataka government in 2022 relaxed the order for two years, the Department of School Education decided to implement the rule from academic year 2023-24. 

In February, the central Ministry of Education directed all states and Union territories to set the minimum age of admission for class 1 to six years and above. According to the National Education Policy (NEP), the rule comes into effect from the academic year 2025-26.

Ankita Jain, parent of a six-year-old,informed The Observer: “I am relieved that my daughter is six years and 2 months old. She goes to Chitrakoota School, which is affiliated to CBSE. The school has already implemented the mandatory rule of accepting only children who have completed six years to class 1. I have heard many parents even considering changing their children’s date of birth in official records. A whole year of their child gets wasted. They should at least give consideration to those children who are just a few months away from turning six.”

Rashmi N, a parent, said: “My son will turn six in October. He is done with pre-schooling. I was planning to shift him to an ICSE school. I hope this rule doesn’t become a hurdle to it. Otherwise, the only option is to repeat UKG.”

State board schools have not implemented the rule so far. State board schools are taking children below six years of age.

Sangmesh E.G., headmaster and teacher at Butti Basaveshwara School, Kushtagi, said: “We have been taking children who are at least five years and six months old. A lot of parents have approached me saying that they don’t want to wait for another year to get admission to class one. If a child is capable of coping with the curriculum, I don’t see any problem in taking her/him into class 1. The main thing is that basic concepts should be clear. If there is a need for the child to clear his/her concepts, then my advice for the parents would be definitely to repeat UKG.”

Ashwini Reddy, headmistress at Netaji Subhas Chandra Lower Primary School, Koppal, said: “Our school offers only primary education. We do not have such restrictions, and accept five-year-olds also to our school.”

 CBSE and ICSE schools have already implemented the rule.

A person who works in the admissions department of SJR Public School, an ICSE institution at Kengeri, said: “We will not take any student who has not attained the age of six. We will only take those students who have completed six years after verifying their date of birth. They are also supposed to appear for a test which would test their basic concepts.” The headmaster was unavailable to comment.

Riji Kumari, admission manager at Tattva School, affiliated to CBSE, said: “Earlier, we used to take children if they were not six but now the management has made it mandatory to accept only those children who have completed six years of age.”     

Ruksan Najaneen, Deputy Director of Public Instruction, Primary Education, Department of School Education and Literacy, explained: “Three years of pre-schooling is essential for the development of a child. A child must not skip any year of pre-schooling be it government school, private or even aanganwadi.”

She said the rule will benefit children as it has been introduced keeping in mind their mental and psychological development. 

According to the NEP website, school curriculum and pedagogy in a new 5+3+3+4 design consists of the foundational stage that is 3 years of Anganwadi/preschool +2 years in class 1&2, preparatory stage that covers grades 3-5, middle stage covering 5-8 grades, and secondary stage covering grades 9-12.

Earlier, the plan was to introduce the rule in academic year 2024-25, but keeping in mind the Supreme Court’s judgment and NEP, the state government will not wait till 2024 but implement it now. “We have already created awareness among school authorities, teachers and parents. We are just waiting for the final order from the higher authorities, which would be passed after the assembly elections,” Najaneen shared.

Indrani Roy, a special educator, welcomed the decision. “Forpast many years, parents, especially working parents, enrolled their children in schools early as they were unable to take care of them. By the time they reach class 1, they are just five years old. Formal education should go parallel with the mental development of the child.”

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