Teachers' body wants govt to allow 5-yr-olds enrolled in Class I

Teachers' body wants govt to allow 5-yr-olds enrolled in Class I

The Karnataka State Primary School Teachers’ Association (KSPSTA) met the Primary and Secondary Education Minister, Tanveer Sait, on Tuesday and appealed to him to allow children who have completed five years of age to be enrolled in Class I.

The appeal follows the directive given by the Department of Public Instruction earlier this year that had set 5 years 10 months as the minimum age for admission to Class I. The association says the rule has badly affected enrolment in government schools.

“Until last year, any child who had completed five years was allowed to enrol for Class I. This year, because of the new rule, we had to turn away many parents who sought to admit their children,” said Basavaraj Gurikar, president of the association. According to him, enrolments in government schools have dropped to nearly half of what they used to be.

The letter submitted to the minister said: “There is no provision to admit a child, even if he or she is short of the age requirement by one day.”

The letter further said the move would only benefit private schools to get more students. “Government schools do not have a provision to run kindergarten classes. Parents will not wait until their child turns 5 years and 10 months old, and will admit them to private kindergarten schools.”

Gurikar said the minister promised to seek a report on the issue and then take a decision.

Following the KSPSTA’s appeal, the Associated Management of Private Unaided English Medium Schools in Karnataka (KAMS) issued a statement, urging the government to not reconsider the age limit. Shashi Kumar D, the general secretary of the association, said their previous request to relax the age limit had not been accepted and doing so now would be unfair to private schools which had completed the admission process.