Delay in NEP-2020 implementation, no clarity on admission age in kindergartens

Schools, parents in a dilemma; admission process on hold
Representational Image
Representational Image

Srinagar, Aug 27: The delay in the implementation of the National Education Policy-2020 has created uncertainty among the parents and the management of private schools over the age group of students for their admission in the kindergartens.

Over the years, the schools enrolled students of the age group of above-three years in LKG.

However, the NEP-2020 and Right to Education (RTE) Act 2009 has suggested that the age of a student enrolled in Nursery (preschool) should be above three years while the age of a student enrolled in LKG should be above four years and in UKG it should be above 5 years.

As the new academic session is scheduled to begin in the coming months, the management of the schools and the parents are in a dilemma as the School Education Department has not framed any rules and regulations for adopting a particular age group for enrolling kids in kindergartens.

“We held several meetings with the Administrative Department and the Director Education, Kashmir in this regard. But we have not been given any clear-cut direction about having any particular age group for enrolling kids in the Kindergartens,” said a school functionary working in a top-notch school in Srinagar.

Amid the confusion, schools have delayed the notification of the admission process as the management is indecisive about the age group for admissions.

“The schools are confused as the NEP-2020 is not implemented yet but on the other hand RTE-2009 has already become applicable in J&K since last year. RTE Act-2009 also suggests that the age group should be 4+ but the government has not issued any notification in this regard,” he said.

The parents are equally confused over admitting their children in schools this year as they are not certain about the eligible age group.

“We are not sure whether schools will keep 3+ or 4+ age groups eligible for admission in Nursery this year. There should be a proper order from the government in this regard. The government should issue an order in this regard to clear the ambiguity,” said Shaista, a parent from Srinagar.

The Joint Secretary in the Department of School Education and Literacy (DSEL), GoI, earlier issued an official communication to all the education secretaries and said that several representations from parents and media had been received regarding the anomaly in the age criteria prescribed for admission in various classes in schools in different states and Union Territories (UTs).

“The anomaly leads to difficulties being faced by the students in seeking admissions in schools on inter-state movement or the eligibility age for appearing in various competitive exams,” it reads.

As per the official document, the DSEL had sought reports from different states and UTs wherein it was found that 13 states and UTs were taking admission in class 1st at age 5+ whereas 21 states were taking at 6+.

“This anomaly also results in incorrect reporting of enrolment of children in age-appropriate classes and incorrect reporting of under-age and overage children, thus affecting the net enrolment ratios in different states and at the national level,” it reads.

The NEP 2020 envisages a pedagogical structure of 5+3+3+4. The first 5 years comprise 3 years of pre-school and anganwadi corresponding to the age groups of 3 to 6 years and two years of Class 1st and 2nd corresponding to the age group of 6 to 8 years.

“Also, the RTE Act-2009 states that every child of the age of 6 to 14 years should have a right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school till completion of elementary education (defined as education from first class to eighth under the act),” it reads.

The document said that in view of the provisions of NEP-2020 and RTE Act 2009, all the states and UTs should align their age of admission with the NEP-2020 and provide for admission to class 1 in age 6+ years to bring uniformity in age of admission throughout the country.

“In this regard a roadmap may be prepared state wise to ensure smooth transition over the next 2-3 years,” the document reads.

The education secretaries were asked to take appropriate action and ensure implementation of uniform age criteria for admission to class 1st in their jurisdiction.

“However, the department is tight lipped over the issue which has left the parents and school management in a dilemma,” a school functionary said.

Principal Secretary School Education Department, Bishwajit Kumar Singh was not available for his comments on the issue.

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