Education board makes U-turn on 4-yr age limit

The state advisory board for education said on Thursday that it has withdrawn its decision of capping the upper age limit for nursery admissions as four years.

The board held a meeting to review its decision after resentment from parents and educationists who argued that a year’s gap between the upper age and lower age limit for nursery admissions is “way too less.”

“It was decided during the meeting that the decision taken by the board earlier on upper age limit as four years should be considered as null and void. We will follow the same norms as last year,” said R C Jain, a members of the advisory board committee.

According to last year’s norms, the lower age limit for admission in nursery was three years. The earlier clause said, “The ages stipulated for entry into class 1, pre-primary and preschool are the minimum ages and there is no bar to children older than the ages specified in this clause being given admission to these classes.”

Due to absence of an upper age limit imposed by the government, considerable confusion has prevailed in the past as age criterion varies across schools in Delhi and NCR.

Several schools had put up notices which said that minimum age for admission in KG will be four years and in class 1 will be five years and kept a year’s gap between the lower and upper age limit, which is likely to be followed by schools this year as well.

The board had recently decided that “for preschool, the child should not be more than three years, 11 months and 30 days, as on March 30 of the start of academic year in which the admission is sought.”

Several parents had protested against this decision and even written a letter to the Directorate of Education asking the department to review it.

Sumit Vohra, founder of nurseryadmissions.com, had argued that the upper cut off age for all entry level classes from Nursery to class 1 should have a minimum difference of two years.

He said, “As per the Right to Education Act, students applying under the economically weaker sections are mostly covered between 6 to 14 years. If upper age limit would have been fixed EWS children would not have been able to get admission.”

On behalf of parents, Vohra has been urging the Directorate of Education to include parent representatives in the advisory board.

Khagesh Jha, lawyer and RTE campaigner said the government is supporting the private school lobby and did not want to intimidate that its own notification in 2007 does not permit schools to fix the upper age limit.

It was also decided in the meeting that a separate committee will be formed to look into the age criterion for the 2014-2015 academic year. Some private schools had argued that the lower age limit should be increased. But Kiran walia, Delhi’s education minister, who chaired the meeting said it cannot be done as the admissions are to begin.

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