Parents protest over preschool age issue

DSEK vows action
Protest (Representational Pic)
Protest (Representational Pic)

Srinagar, Mar 15: Resentment is brewing among parents against the management of Tyndale Biscoe and Mallinson School (TB&MS) over its alleged diktat issued on "arbitrarily-fixed" preschool age criteria.

Scores of parents on Thursday staged a peaceful protest in Srinagar Press Enclave against the school decision to give retrospective effect to the age criteria for kids in pre-primary classes under National Education Policy (NEP)-2020.

The parents said the TB&MS has put the students and parents in distress by making arbitrary decisions for age criteria when all the other schools have given prospective effect to the NEP-2020.

The school management, as per the parents, was issuing back to back notification to the parents stating that the NEP-2020 will be implemented with retrospective effect.

"We fail to understand when no other school has any such problem why only Biscoe and Mallinson school has created an issue unnecessarily," the protesting parents told Greater Kashmir.

As already reported by this newspaper, the Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) in a letter dated March 11, 2023 directed the management of Tyndale Biscoe and Mallison higher secondary school Srinagar to promote kids to next classes prospectively rather than retrospectively.

However, a day after the letter was issued, the school came up with fresh notification on preschool age criteria by giving retrospective effect to the NEP-2020.

The move forced the parents of the students to hit streets and stage protest at Srinagar Press Enclave to oppose the "arbitrary' decision of the school.

"This is for the information of all, that Tyndale-Biscoe & Mallinson Society Schools are following NEP 2020 and RTE 2009 (for age criteria) and that all admissions in classes will be as per the guidelines laid and as per direction from Government and Order dated 22/7/2022 passed by the High Court of J&K and Ladakh at Srinagar in WP(C) PIL No. 20/2020," the school notification dated March 14, 2023 reads.

"The school upholds the 5-year Foundational Stage for Lower Primary Department as envisaged in the aforementioned, based on which promotion will be initiated for session 2023-24," it reads.

As per the notification, the age of kid will be 3+ in NURSERY, LKG (4+) UKG (5+) 1st primary (6+) and 2nd primary (7+)

"My child is so distressed with the decision of the school to retain her in KG class this year when she has already studied in KG class last year," said a parent who was part of the protest.

The parents said the KG students who were enrolled in the school during the last two years should be promoted to next classes as per the old scheme while the new age criteria be followed for the students enrolled in Nursery class this year. The parents accused the management of TB&MS for taking parents for a ride by issuing diktats to them.

"It is a shame for them that they forced the parents to hit the streets. The school management do not ever bother to meet parents or to hear our version. I am a doctor by profession and I took a half day leave many times to meet the school principal but I was never allowed to meet her by the supervisors," said an angry parent.

"We will not allow them to continue their monopoly like this. They have to listen to the demands of the parents," the parent said.

Another parent said the gates of the school are never open for the parents as the management never bothers to meet the parents who are the main stakeholders. While opposing the school decision to implement NEP-2020 with retrospective effect, the parents sought personal intervention of J&K Lieutenant Governor and higher ups in the administration to look into the matter.

The Director School Education Kashmir Tasaduq Hussain Mir when contacted said he will ensure that the "school falls in line."

Meanwhile, the protesting parents also met the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Vijay Kumar Bidhuri and were assured that the matter will be resolved. The Assistant Commissioner in the office of Divisional Commissioner, Abid Hussain when contacted said the matter will be looked into. "The school management will be called to our office and the issue will be resolved," he told Greater Kashmir.

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